Announcement

2011? Wow!

Long time, no blogging here. Well, that should change as I try to revive this and other sites. Be warned, though, that it might not mean, say, daily posts. Maybe not more than weekly, depending. I found that there were limits to the variety of things I cooked, especially – ironically – given the need to be frugal plus, limiting that blog fodder. There would only have been so many allergy updates or posts about shopping. The effort would be helped if my idea of frugal were not, of necessity, about as cheap as you can go short of hitting the soup kitchen.

That said, I have made new things. Even if I can’t post recipes because I made them up on the fly, as always, I can at least tell you about them. Some of that will appear soon. I figure if I can throw in some links here and there, I might be able to generate at least a post per week. Stay tuned.

Culinary in the Desert

I’d like to make note of a favorite food blog of mine, albeit not one focused on frugality. It is Culinary in the Desert and there’s always something droolfully amazing there.

I haven’t fixed this place to have a blogroll yet, but they will be on it. What’s odd is I never developed much of a food blog or related sites blogroll/link list over there. I’d like to do better in this place.

As such, I am open to suggestions…

Comments

I love comments!

Don’t be alarmed when your first comment does not appear immediately. The blog is configured to require approval the first time someone comments. After that, it should post immediately, unless it somehow gets spam filtered.

Tweaking 1-2-3

I love how this theme looks, and it’s easier to use one off the shelf than to modify extensively, but it’s driving me crazy trying to make certain changes. That is why you don’t even see the beginnings of a blogroll yet, and adding Site Meter via a sidebar widget made part of what was in the sidebar disappear. It’s very odd, there seem to be multiple sidebar parts and footer parts where one can use a widget, but part of the sidebar isn’t changed at all, other parts aren’t easy to replicate, and the footer sections advertised don’t seem to work at all.

So, in short, still working on it. And tossing around multiple post ideas, trying not to spew them forth too rapidly, at the same time, hello, should post something to get momentum rolling.

Introduction

[Edited]

Once upon a time, I posted about cooking on personal blogs, and then I started a food blog named The Married Guy Cook [posts prior to this one chronologically were imported from there].  It was inspired by and a spoof on the name of a short-lived food blog by Jeff Soyer, The Single Guy Cook.  That was especially appropriate, since my cooking ability came to the fore once I was married.

Now I am not.  Married.  [Not true, exactly. Deb wished to break up, but we have never divorced or lived apart – not that we could have afforded to, and remain an intact family for all practical purposes.] Which makes the name a bit odd.  And it’s built into the domain [which I regret having subsequent failed to renew, probably since I wasn’t using it and lacked funds to keep it in the collection], so still odd even if I rename the blog itself.  Which I did, but in the midst of a blogging drought and already dreaming of this new place.

Along the way, I thought about how much I knew now could have saved me and given me a better diet when I was single.  Along the way, I hit economic disaster that made my existing frugality useful and challenged it to be more so.  Along the way, I had a child with multiple allergies.  Allergies to fundamentals, eggs and milk, and more avoidably, peanuts, bananas and now tree nuts.  Worse, early on, thankfully temporary sensitivities to substances in most foods.

When I was young, I loved watching Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet.  I had to agree with my late grandfather’s remark that there was nothing frugal about much of what he cooked.  I hope to do better here, but the theme is general, not absolute.  Nor is it only about cooking.

To cut to the chase, this blog will be about frugality, something more in vogue than usual currently, and while that may relate mainly to food, that’s not about cooking as such.  Call it lifestyle as much as anything.  This blog will be about food and cooking, obviously, with an eye to frugality and making do, but not tied exclusively to it.  This blog will have a large coping with allergies component.  That could perhaps be its own blog, but I decided not to be too niche about it.  Finally, with three young, variably fussy kids to feed, expect to see an element of making them happy.  At the same time, I haven’t forgotten my decades as a single person who could have saved money and eaten better, so I plan to touch on that as well.

I welcome guest recipes and ideas.  Feel free to contact me in the comments or at an address to be named later, as I set the place up in finer detail.

Finally, I expect to import material from my old blog.  Probably directly, with the possibility of reposts from the past as well.  That may look disjointed, or be dated prior to this “first post,” so please bear with me.  And by all means, if you missed it the first time, peruse away.

Chili and Being Boring

I made the best chili yet yesterday.

While my mother-in-law was here, I made the best refried beans yet.

The secret to both seems to have been unusually large quantities of fresh garlic, which surprised me.

I could go on at length about how I made this particular batch of chili, just as I could write something about each time, as all are different. Trouble is, and part – but only part – of the lack of posting has been the boring sameness of the overall diet. How many times can I write about cooking refried beans, chili, beef stew, roast chicken, and various taco, burrito or similar concoctions before it gets ridiculous? So I started spicing the beans earlier. So I added a tiny amount of real maple syrup. So I made it beefier than normal. So I was out of tomato paste and used ketchup only, as opposed to paste and ketchup or tomato soup and ketchup, plus some paprika mainly for color. So I used far less chili powder than normal, more black pepper, and some white pepper for the first time ever. It remains yet another batch of chili.

Part of it has been the hecticness of the new baby, having another person in the house, and pecking at tasks associated with closing down an old business and office, and organizing my home office and seeking new business or work before this can turn into a blog about pinching food pennies until they melt from the pressure-induced heat. Still, I can at least try to post some of the more generic content I’ve had in mind, like brand and store matters, and repost some old recipes or experiments. I shall try to keep on it better.

My mother in law enjoyed her stay, not having to cook much. On a cool day, I made a roast chicken by special request. That was good. We had chicken burritos, then had them again by special request before she left. We had plain old cheeseburgers a couple times. We had pasta. It all got raves. We also had some takeout, introducing her to the D’Angelos Number 9 sub, which is steak, cheese, pepper, onion and mushroom, and to Papa Ginos pizza. We always order a Rustic style meat combo and a large cheese in the traditional style, which feeds us at least two meals worth and satisfies everyone. We had pizza a second time by special request. Oh! I remember; I made barbecue shredded beef, which came out especially good. Another request. And another thing I don’t really need to write up over and over.

I also need to fix this blog. It needs a blogroll and such, and that needs to be on all the pages. The template this is based on is hard to modify, so it’ll be back to the drawing board. Getting all the blogs right is on my master list of stuff to do, and has more connection with making a living than is immediately obvious. People see them and it reflects on me if they look better. Looks impact traffic. Where there is search traffic to individual posts, cross-links to things like Deb’s shop and the business and our other blogs increases everything’s potential. More traffic on the blogs means ads are more likely someday. While I’m not a “do anything to boost the traffic and create a true blog empire” person, I’m not going to turn down money for blogging I’d do anyway.

Stay tuned. I’ll try to keep up better with posting, but there’s not likely to be a lot of experimenting. On the other hand, we will soon be getting into cooler season foods…

Works in Progress

Because it’s dreadfully hot, which makes remembering I have a crockpot a Good Thing, I’m striving against boredom, and I had five pork loin steak thingies in the freezer, I am trying this recipe today. I’m not sure I’ll even adulterate it to speak of. I just happen to have a can of enchilada sauce I bout on the idea I’d make chicken enchiladas sometime, or else use it in something else. Something else it is! We also have leftover flour tortillas. An 8-pack does us for about three meals of burritos or whatnot, which isn’t bad for $1.69 plus the price of whatever ingredients.

I’ll have to report on how it comes out.

We’re about to have leftovers from last night, which is another post, once the pictures are off the camera. I had corn on the cob, Valerie’s first ever and boy did she enjoy it, so I was going to make random chicken, some rice and maybe a second vegetable. Even though I didn’t use them, the presence of egg noodles on the counter made me think of trying a chicken/gravy dish along the lines of my beef/gravy dishes I make periodically. The result was excellent – perhaps slightly overflavored – with what I thought of as a traditional chicken flavor to it. Now I know why, since Deb noted that I’d basically made chicken pot pie filling. Add the carrots and maybe other veggies and it wouldn’t be overflavored. It’s not a recipe, unfortunately, but I’ll describe what I did. It’s definitely a keeper. Stay tuned…

Herbs and Spices

Just a short note about my writing conventions here. You will see me say “spices” generically to mean both herbs and spices, which are technically two different things. However, they are both flavoring or taste enhancing ingredients used in cooking or embellishing food, achieving the same result. So please bear with me when I shorthand them, much as I might say “his” to mean “his or hers” or “people’s” generically.

Introducing The Married Guy Cook

[Edited because certain things have changed, though this blog was a continuation from an earlier one for which I no longer own the domain, in response to actual or expected life changes.]

This place needs work! I’m busy right now, to the point where starting a new blog might be silly, but it’ll get there. This default template is odd in that replacing the header graphic with one of the same dimensions leads to overhang at the edges. I’ll change that when I can.

Anyway, The Married Guy Cook was inspired by Jeff Soyer’s secondary blog, The Single Guy Cook.

I’ve always done a fair number of food posts in my history of general blogging. I wouldn’t mind doing more, and it was a good candidate to become a distinct brand.

While I’m sure I’ll post recipes and descriptions, I anticipate going way beyond that here. I especially want to see a lot of reader interaction, and many posts will be little more than open invitations to discuss food or cooking topics. I figure I have a lot to learn. I also have things to share. While this is called Married Guy Cook, in light of my status and the fact I really got into cooking after I had a family to cook for, I may have advice in retrospect for singles. Cooking for one can be a drag. It will probably show in my posts that I like to keep costs down.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and return regularly. I’ll try to update the appearance and content within the next week, rather than letting it drag before I get back here.