Tag Archives: Budget
October 8, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I thought I had made it. I had a secure job at a huge company. I could pay my bills on time. I bought Rice Krispies instead of Crispy Rice.
For the past few months, I’ve visited more upscale restaurants high on the fumes of financial security. My budget has upgraded from dollar menu to value meal.
Then I received an $80 dinner bill that kicked me in the pants. I blame the
one twothree cocktails for my lapse in fiscal responsibility during a birthday dinner at a delicious restaurant that shall remain nameless (I’m protecting the innocent; it’s not the restaurant’s fault I balled so hard).
I felt all the feelings after that splurge:
- I felt full (seriously, that food was delicious)
- I was thankful that I could afford that meal
- I was guilty that I had abandoned this blog’s original pledge of eating frugally and had wiled out in the name of YOLO*
- I was sad that there are still folks in my city who can’t afford a meal anywhere, let alone an $80 one
- I felt motivated to refocus Ashlee Eats around the four tenets of my food philosophy: buy local, be green, eat frugally, and fight hunger.
I’ve eaten some delicious food since I started calling myself a food blogger. And sometimes, great food comes with an even greater tab. I’m not saying that I or anyone who can afford it should refrain from treating ourselves sometimes. I’m also not saying that I’m anywhere within spitting distance of rich, or even being able to regularly throw down almost 100 bucks for dinner.
But for me, that $80 ticket reminded me of how long it had been since I followed my own advice about eating on the cheap. It reminded me that I had stopped writing so much about hunger and frugality in exchange for the more upscale dining I’ve encountered. I stopped being a good steward of my own food philosophy, on this blog and in real life.
I’ll write more about good deals around town, either at fancy places or just regular ol’ spots. I’ll share more recipes, since you can save so much money by staying in a few nights a week. And I’ll broadcast more events that provide an opportunity to give back to our community so we collectively kick hunger’s behind.
Oh, and I’ve gone back to Crispy Rice.
*YOLO — You Only Live Once; an urban version of carpe diem; my motto for the past few months; an outdated term I refuse to abandon
June 21, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
The temperature has climbed, and the humidity has settled over the Ohio Valley. A scoop of ice cream sure sounds delightful right about now.
Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen will offer ice cream scoops for 25 cents each tomorrow, June 22. The offer is good at all 10 Pie Kitchen locations from noon to 5 p.m.
Plan your day accordingly.
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May 22, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
The Kentucky Derby feels like it happened yesterday, but somehow we made it in spitting distance of June. Where did May go? Did we do a time warp?
Fortunately, the month isn’t quite over, so we still have time to enjoy some of the perks of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Hometown Tourist Celebration. The purpose of the festivities is to get folks like me away from the computer and into the wilds of Kentuckiana to enjoy the local food and fun in our area. Plus, a lot of participating businesses will give you substantial discounts when you show your Kentucky, Indiana, local student or military ID.
Here are some of my favorite deals. Click here for a complete list of discounts.
- Quattro: Free dessert with any meal
- Joe Huber Family Farm and Restaurant: Free quart of U-pick strawberries
- Sway at the Hyatt Regency: 20 percent off all food and non-alcoholic beverages
- The Comfy Cow (Frankfort Avenue): Free topping with purchase of a regular cone
- Manny and Merle: 20 percent off your bill
What’s your favorite Hometown Tourist destination?
April 17, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Live in Louisville, New Albany or Clarksville? Like sub sandwiches? Then today is your day, friends. Jimmy John’s, the “freaky …
March 5, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I’m up for just about any recipe. But there are a few dishes I’d rather buy than make myself.
Sometimes, plain ol’ convenience wins out over the reward of creating something in your own kitchen. Time is in short supply these days (damn sequester), and I can’t always make everything lovingly from scratch. Instead, I shelve my ambitions and pick something off my shelf that only needs to be opened, eaten and enjoyed.
Here are a few foods that I would rather buy than make. Feel free to chime in.
- Bread. I don’t have a bread maker. I also don’t have the patience for dealing with a live, active culture like yeast. Why go through the trouble of cutting butter into flour, and kneading, and waiting, and baking, when I can just grab a slice from the 89-cent loaf I scored because of a Kroger manager’s special? This category also includes dinner rolls, biscuits and pita bread.
- Curry. My curry will never, ever be as good as the most mediocre curry in the most mediocre restaurant. I prefer not to try rather than have my hopes dashed.
- Salsa. I had a bad experience with homemade salsa. It involved two friends, some vegetables from the Trader Joe’s in Washington, D.C., and a Magic Bullet blender. Unfortunately, it did not involve any spices. That soupy mess has scarred me for at least another decade.
- Crackers. The Kitchn, one of my favorite food blogs, is always trying to tell me I can make my own crackers at home (here are 10 recipes). I’m sorry, but eff that. I turn to a box of crackers when I’m feeling all sort of feelings that only Golden Girls and cuddling with my dog can make better. Making my favorite feel-better snack from scratch takes away some of the comfort. It adds work. I can’t do it.
Hummus. I blame the tahini, a key hummus ingredient, for my aversion to making this dip on my own. I hate buying a condiment that only has one special purpose in the world. Can I put tahini on chicken, fish and steak? My fear is that the tahini will fester in the back of my cabinet between batches of hummus.
Sushi. Don’t even get me started. Jiro has spent his whole life becoming the master of raw fish and rice. I’m not going to even try.
What foods do you refuse to make?
January 24, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Brace yourself for a surprising confession.
I ate ramen noodles for the first time two weeks ago.
It seems criminal that it took me nearly three decades to eat this budget-friendly dish. The only time I was close to ramen as a child was when my mom only fixed ramen for my dad, who slurped up the noodles with baked chicken legs. It seemed like a “grown-up food,” so I stuck with my spaghetti. Then I went to college, where the halls of my all-girls dorm were thick with the smell of spice, salt and chicken, the hallmarks of a bowl of ramen. The smell was so pervasive that it dissuaded me from ever bringing those noodles into my life, budget be damned.
As with most of my food awakenings, Rob is the one who opened my eyes to the possibilities behind the red and yellow square packages. He grew up eating ramen noodles because “they were cheap, they were good and they were easy to make.” A couple of weeks ago, he came in with a Kroger bag full of ramen packages. I’m pretty sure his eyes twinkled.
It was time to give these noodles a whirl. He expertly boiled water and dropped the brick of wavy noodles into the pot. After pouring away most of the water, he sprinkled a chicken flavor packet into the now-flaccid noodles while simultaneously tossing them with a fork to ensure even flavor distribution. It was like watching Iron Chef. And the secret ingredient is … RAMEN.
I steamed some leftover bok choy to accompany the ramen (you know, to make it healthy) and helped myself to a bowl. My mind was blown. The ramen was so salty and spicy that I’m pretty sure I met my sodium intake for the day. The bok choy added some crunch to this tender noodle dish. My mind raced with all the vegetable additions I could make in the future.
Days after my awakening, a six-pack of chicken-flavored ramen sits patiently in the cabinet. But I won’t let almost 30 years pass before I eat ramen again.
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September 7, 2012 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
The promise of cheap food close to my home was the only thing that could get me in Joe’s Older Than Dirt, a tavern in Lyndon.
Framed, autographed headshots of visiting country singers and a couple of deer heads filled a wood-paneled wall where I ate my dinner. A cornhole game was assembling in the expansive outdoor patio as I headed home. And there’s plenty of cheap beer on tap, which seemed to be the main attraction that brought patrons to Joe’s.
I don’t know much about country music (though I love me some Johnny Cash). I know less about cornhole. And I can name on one hand the beers I can tolerate.
Fortunately, stepping out of my comfort zone paid off. There’s a lot more to Joe’s than a few good drinks. This is a bar with hearty platters of food with prices that compliment the beer specials.
Joe’s has been around since 1937, when Joe Keal opened a tavern near what is now the corners of Lyndon Lane and New LaGrange Road, according to the information on Joe’s menu. His clientele was passengers from the nearby railway station that he sometimes picked up with a horse and buggy.
Times have changed, and so has Joe’s. The tavern was expanded over the years, so patrons can have a drink, watch some ESPN on several flatscreens and a projector, play a little cornhole outside or enjoy some karaoke or a live performer depending on the day of the week.
And then there’s the food.
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September 5, 2012 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Boombozz, a Louisville-based pizza restaurant, debuted its new pizza in the best way. The restaurant gave it away.
On Labor Day, the first 50 customers at the restaurant’s Westport Village, Bardstown Road and Frankfort Avenue locations received a free medium Chicken Sausage Peppadew pizza.
I live across the street from one of these locations. So guess who was the 10th person to get a free pizza Monday?
January 27, 2012 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I’m not a big drinker. And I hate going out to the bars. A night with a bar stool up my …
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December 2, 2011 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Here’s a quickie post to get your Friday going. Subway is offering $2 six-inch sandwiches through December for Customer Appreciation …