Friday, June 25, 2010

Cheap and Cheerful Cooking: Mini Pork Cheeseburgers

I could not stop thinking about these little burgers once I saw them on Can someone come over and grill them for me? Any tiny burger with carmelized onions has got to be good.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound ground pork
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
10 small rolls, halved lengthwise
10 slices chipotle gouda or pepper jack cheese

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions; cook until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and continue cooking, stirring, until uniformly brown, 5 to 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Mix the pork, garlic and parsley in a bowl. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and form into 10 small patties, being careful not to pack them too tightly.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat; grill the patties until medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side. Place a cheese slice on the bottom half of each roll; top with a burger, some caramelized onions and the roll top.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Favorite Things: Melissa and Doug Magnet "Dolls"

My kids love playing with these Melissa and Doug wooden magnet dolls. There are several designs to please your future firefighter or diva ballerina. At less than $10, they are a perfect addition to your birthday party gift closet.

Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: What is your favorite go-to birthday party gift?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cheap and Cheerful Summer Challenge: The Free Week

Summer is a great time to plan a "Free Week". During Free Week, you do not purchase anything beyond the bare essentials. Here's how it works:

1. Do not buy any food except milk (if you drink it) and fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead, get creative with your menu planning and use up your pantry and freezer food.

2. No activities that cost extra money. No movies, no Zoo trips, no coffees, no take out. Get creative and plan some free fun.

3. Limit your driving. Walk to the park. Bike to the grocery store. Both cost nothing!

4. Use up other resources at home to create fun. Break out a board game. Finish up a few coloring books. Paint on cardboard boxes. Read a whole series of short books out loud.

Here's how a Free Week will look at our house: We've got two muffin mixes waiting to be baked, two unopened boxes of cereal, and lots of yogurt so we're set for breakfast except for a gallon of milk. For lunch, we've got everything we need for bean burritos, quesadillas, peanut butter and jelly, and plenty of hummus and pita. Add some fruit and we're all set. Dinners will be pasta with veggies from the garden, tamales and chicken from the freezer, and waffles! Add some lettuce for a salad and we're good to go. We've got some snack stuff already on hand as well like pretzels, Triscuits, frozen fruit for smoothies, and popcorn. For free events, we'll visit the park, head to the library, go to the Farmer's Market (where we'll get the fruits and veggies), play in the sprinklers, do some art and play some board games.

It's just one week ... but think of how much you can spend in just one week when you hit Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Target, the Zoo, and the list goes on ...

I'm up for the challenge. Who's with me? What will you do with the money you save?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Retail Therapy: TOMS Calypso Wedge

One in each color, please. Solid colors available in store at your local Nordstrom. Like I need another pair of black shoes. I did just donate two pairs of black shoes to Goodwill. But still. Maybe a little early birthday present to myself? We shall see. A girl can dream, right?


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