Updated on 01.12.11

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Recipe Research Edition

Trent Hamm

One of the fun parts of the new “Dinner with My Family” series is that it’s made me start going through all of the piles of recipe notes I’ve accumulated over the last five years, focusing in on meals we liked, meals that can easily work with my dietary constraints, and meals that are inexpensive.

As a result, I have this stack of forty or so recipes (so far) that I’m considering for this series. I’m really looking forward to making (or, in most cases, re-making) most of these dishes!

For starters, I wanted to share some of my recent contributions at OPEN Forum. These next four articles were all written by me.

Future Value: Helping Employees Move On If you own a small business and have an opportunity to help one of your best employees move to a better position, what should you do? Here’s my take on a difficult situation.

When Is the Customer Not Always Right? The Chamber of Commerce Question I overheard a customer at a local business go on an angry rant about that business being a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Sometimes, the customer just isn’t right.

The Christmas Question: Cultural Considerations with Your Customers “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”? I think the right phrase to use depends heavily on knowing your customer base, and having the right phrase will help you click with your customers. Of course, “Christmas” is just one little piece of that puzzle.

Listening In: 15 Essential Small Business Podcasts I actually wound up pointing to only seven podcasts here while explaining how to find many other similar ones.

And now, some great personal finance links.

How to Use the Power of Groups Groups and communities can be incredibly valuable and powerful. Here are some thoughts on how to utilize that power. (@ money cactus)

How to Make Pizza for 38 Cents While I’m a bit of a foodie and would almost certainly upgrade this recipe a bit if I were making it, I give this article big props for showing a recipe, then calculating the costs of it so clearly. (@ cents to share)

Preparing for Power Blackouts: Plan Ahead and You Can Weather Any Storm Where I grew up, we had multiple multi-hour blackouts each year. I recall that a few of them went on for days. (@ frugal dad)

20 personal money practices that got me to a place of grooving prosperity If everyone came out of college with these twenty ideas firmly burned into their heads, life would go so much easier for them – and there would have never been a housing bubble, either. (@ white hot truth)

I Just Lost My Job! How I’m Downsizing My Household Expenses Ask yourself this: is this person losing anything of real value in her life thanks to this downsizing? Then ask yourself this: why not do it before you’re downsized? (@ the digerati life)

Debt-Free for Life: An Interview with David Bach I enjoyed this interview, particularly since I was reading the book at the time (and I’ll be reviewing it Sunday). (@ man vs. debt)

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  1. valleycat1 says:

    Trent – when I started trying to weed through all my saved recipes & cookbooks, I used 2 smaller-sized photo albums (the kind with slip-in sleeves) for the first basic sort. One is labelled “to try” & the other “faves”. Once I try one out, it’s either discarded or moved to the ‘faves’ book, as appropriate. Now I’m working on getting the ‘faves’ retyped to upload to one of the sites for creating your own cookbook. It’s great to be able to go to the one for a sure-fire recipe – & to have all our favorites in one place instead of finding the right cookbook or file – , or to the other if we’re experimenting!

  2. Adam P says:

    I work with a nice woman of Indian descent, and she brings in samosas and other delicious Indian food for Diwali every year for her co-workers to share. She will often tell us “Happy Diwali!” at that time of year. Is anyone offended? No. I don’t understand why saying “Happy Christmas” or “Merry Christmas” could possibly offend anyone, Christian or not. Christmas is so secular in any case at this point, who really cares? “Happy Holidays” is so 1990s.

  3. Johanna says:

    @Adam P: It’s not the same. Christianity holds a position of privilege in Western society, so to say “Merry Christmas” to someone you don’t know well is to say “I assume you celebrate Christmas, which in any case is more important than other holidays that people might celebrate as well/instead.” Wishing an obviously non-Indian person a happy Diwali doesn’t carry the same implication.

    What *I* don’t understand is why anyone has a problem with “Happy Holidays.” “Holidays” just means “whatever holidays you celebrate.” If you celebrate Christmas, then consider it a short form of “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” What’s wrong with that?

  4. Carmen says:

    I’m excited about the Dinner with Family series! Always looking for new ideas.

  5. David says:

    Strictly speaking, to wish someone a happy holiday is to assume that the day is holy. To wish someone a happy row of lamps, by contrast, is a relatively inoccuous thing to do.

  6. Johanna says:

    @David: If you want to be a pedant, why don’t you go and finish your Christmas puzzle? They’re very worried about you over there, you know.

  7. Julia says:

    On power outages:
    One of my funnest memories as a child was the time the power went out for about a week following a major statewide storm.

    School was out the whole week. We had “slumber parties” every night (i.e. sleeping in sleeping bags in the living room where the fireplace was. the rest of the house was too cold.)
    Cooked food on (or in) the fireplace using whatever methods my parents could come up with.
    And we kept food like milk out on the back porch where it was about 30 degrees in the daytime.

    My parents were always well prepared for power outages (if nothing else) so I always thought they were fun :)

  8. Fawn says:

    I would love another meal series!!!

  9. Gert says:

    Trying out the barely soup you posted last week tonight. From the smell of it, it will be a big hit. I added some diced left over herbed beef roast I had, a pint jar of home made beef stock (from making roasts actually), 1/2 bottle white wine and a can of tomato sauce for the stock. I also added a bit of Lee & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce and a bit of ground coriander to taste. We also added a carton of sliced mushrooms to give it that rich taste without making it mushroom barely soup. Everything else I left the same.

    As we have a funeral for a neighbor to go to tonight this will be a nice late dinner I can put on a back burner for a couple of hours while we are gone and it made enough for a couple of families to enjoy together after such an unhappy event.

  10. Janis says:

    For anyone inclined to track recipes electronically, I heartily recommend a site called Mealfire (dot com). While it’s a wonderful way to track your own recipes, it really shines as a “recipe aggregator” – letting you collect favorite recipes and images from other big recipe sites such as All Recipes, Epicurious, Martha Stewart, etc. at the touch of a bookmarklet button. If the site isn’t compatible with Mealfire, you simply copy and paste the ingredients and directions into their appropriate boxes. No more having to remember which site has which recipe that I’m looking for. I like using it to easily track modifications I’ve made to various recipes in my collection.

    Mealfire lets you tag recipes for easy retrieval, print them, edit them, create grocery lists and schedule meals on a calendar. You can share the calendar with your iCal, Google calendar, Cozi, etc.

    Mealfire is free – and, no, I have no affiliation with them other than being a most enthusiastic user of the service.

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