A New Year's Resolution You Can Keep: Go On The January Money Diet

For the second year, I'm gearing up to lead the January Money Diet with several hundred readers of my blog, Happy Simple Living. It's a 31-day challenge to spend not a nickel on anything but the barest essentials, and we're able to pocket the savings and start the new year financially strong.

Prepared foods, take-out, fast food and restaurant meals can eat up (no pun intended) a big chunk of the monthly budget, so cooking at home is usually an easy way to enjoy great food while saving money. At the same time, let’s be realistic:  most of us are busy juggling a zillion things, we need to get a healthy, delicious dinner on the table each night, and we don’t have time to grind grain, churn butter and butcher a chicken to save money. 

     I’ll be covering this subject several times during January on my blog, but for starters here are some of my favorite food web sites — guaranteed to give you plenty of inspiration and new meal-making ideas:

  • Recipe Puppy is a wonderful, easy-to-use site that helps you find recipes from ingredients you already have. For example, I entered “water chesnuts” (one of the ingredients lurking in my pantry) and “chicken” and it returned 243 recipes using those ingredients.
  • In addition to its irreverent name and sassy writing, Broke Ass Gourmet features delicious, low-cost recipes along with great advice on inexpensive but delicious beers, wines, cocktails.  
  • CopyKat Recipes is a site devoted to recipes that are similar to restaurant favorites. It’s especially useful if you have kids clamouring for fast food; you’ll find hundreds of recipes for homemade versions of offerings like Taco Bell tacos and Domino’s Cinnastix.
  • I absolutely love the King Arthur Flour blog, which has inspired many baking adventures here including making pitas from scratch. You’ll find recipes and photos posted by various members of the company’s staff as well as plenty of readers’ comments about improvements and substitutions for the recipes.
  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks is the recipe section of Ree Drummond’s addictive blog, and I love her accessible, yummy recipes and instructive photographs.
  • Stone Soup is a blog about minimalist home cooking, with great recipes and gorgeous photography.
  • I also love the blog Eggs on Sunday for ideas and recipes about cooking with whole, natural, seasonal ingredients.

How about you? What are some of your favorite food sites and blogs?

If you'd like to join the January Money Diet, just stop by and leave a comment and you'll be automatically entered to win a deluxe prize basket at month's end. Also, if you blog about saving money or other frugal topics, be sure to leave your blog name on the Mck Linky at the end of the page so my readers can discover your blog!

Happy New Year, and here's to a healthy, fun-filled 2011!



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