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Budgate. Are You Really Shock(topped)?

Budgate. Are You Really Shock(topped)?


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Immediately upon the airing of the now-infamous craft beer commercial produced by Anheuser Busch, the craft beer community took to social media in droves, expressing their displeasure at the nerve of this conglomerate to display pride in its product. The Super Bowl commercial poked fun at mustachioed, pumpkin peach beer-drinking craft brewers, proudly describing Budweiser as a “macrobrewery.” Hipsters everywhere unzipped their skinny jeans, wiped off their glasses with a homemade vinegar and water concoction, tossed their gluten-free/dairy-free/calorie-free soy nachos back on their plates, and unplugged their beard trimmers to charge their phones, making sure they had the juice to tweet their anger.

Folks, Budweiser isn’t going away any time soon. That’s a fact. Let me preface this with a bit of background about me. I detest Bud Light. Yes, like many of you, I think it’s just this side of carbonated water with some beer flavoring added. And yes, I am deeply involved in the craft beer industry. I drink it. I film it. I write about it. I am also a chef who enjoys cooking with craft beer. So much so that I produced a pilot series that focuses on that very thing. You will find no defense of rice beer here. Yet I respect Budweiser, just as I respect Miller Lite. I have owned multiple businesses and know how hard it is to succeed, and, even more, how difficult it is to brand an item as an icon. And yes, Budweiser is an American icon. As much as Ford or Chevy. As much as Coca-Cola.

Ask any brewer and they’ll be likely to tell you that they respect Budweiser. No, it doesn’t mean you have to drink their swill. But the ability to consistently produce the exact same beer is no easy task. Making beer is a process that is, at the very least, temperamental. The four main ingredients of a beer are typically a grain,yeast, water, and love. Every bottle of Budweiser you taste will be identical to the last. Considering the volume that Budweiser produces, this is no easy feat. This is a company that distributes that same beer to 80 different countries. It’s a company that puts food on the table for over 150,000 families. Thousands more are employed indirectly through various distributor services. Forbes Magazine lists it as one of the world’s most innovative companies. In the last ten years, ABI has donated over $360 million dollars to nonprofit organizations. In 2005 they supplied over nine million cans of drinking water to Hurricane Katrina victims.

Now, all that being said, understand that I am putting things in perspective, for you, Dear Reader. And, as stated, you will find no defense for Budweiser’s beer in this article. Nor will you ever find a Bud or Bud Light in my hand. Not even if it’s free. Many people have criticized Budweiser’s ravenous acquisition of many microbreweries. But, as with many things, free thinking is important. Since 2001, Google has purchased 174 technology companies. Since 1988, Apple has purchased 63 technology companies. Since 1987, Microsoft has purchased 171 technology companies. Where was the Twitter uproar about these other acquisition-happy companies? Did your Gucci Organic Bear Beard Grease cause your fingers to slip off your phone? Or are you simply riding the craft beer bandwagon and obeying whatever Draft Magazine says? Sure, craft beer is making a major comeback, in a major way. We just surpassed 3200 breweries in the United States and are approaching an all-time brewery count high, in a nation that, in many ways, is here because of beer. But make no mistake, Budweiser isn’t going to close its doors just because you got your mankini in a wad over their commercial. Nor should they.

Budweiser spills more beer each day than 80 percent of the brewers in this country produce. The beauty of the craft beer world can be summed up in two words: creativity and passion. Craft brewing is a thankless job. Those in the business face long hours and lots of sanitizing and cleaning. Most brewers I know call themselves the janitor. But they are also a fiercely proud crowd that wants to put a product in your hand just so they can watch your face in that magical moment when you take your first sip. I’ve seen it many times as a chef. Your eyes close as you breathe deep to inhale the brew’s intoxicating fumes. As the liquid passes your lips, it coats your tongue and invades your nose. Thousands of bubbles in a single sip, all carefully crafted for that exact moment, coat the back of your throat as the beer washes down. Yes. You just experienced a hopgasm. And it’s the finest compliment you can give your brewer.

Now more than ever, Budweiser is in the business of business, rather than the business of beer. A growing craft beer market has forced the company to pay attention. And it’s going to do whatever is necessary to survive— and, hopefully, grow—as any business should. Elysian Brewing, a recent acquisition of ABI, is a prime example of this persistence and flexibility. Elysian’s brewers have made it very clear that, if anything, they are now able to produce an even more superior beer. Thanks to their purchase by ABI, they have access to new equipment and technology. They have a better distribution platform to work from. Yet their core beer will not change. It’s business. And it’s good business. But hey, Budweiser, that was a dick move with the whole “pumpkin peach ale” statement. Clearly a shot at a brewery you just purchased.

At the end of the day, don’t forget your roots. And know that you are welcome to establish a company that earns the title of “King of Beers”, employs hundreds of thousands of workers, and donates hundreds of millions of dollars to charities. In the meantime, if you don’t like Budweiser, don’t drink it. Saddle yourself up to your local craft brewery and thank them by taking a long sip of history. But, most importantly, stop the hate. Think for yourself. And remember that beer plays well with others.


8 Cheap Beef Cuts So Good You'll Swear Off Ribeye

If you experience a little sticker shock each time you pick up a package of beef at the supermarket, you’re not alone. Beef prices have been inching higher. (Meanwhile, pork prices have been falling.)

American consumers, perhaps driven by the popularity of some diets like keto and paleo, are eating slightly more beef than in recent years. Plus, demand for American beef in export markets has been growing, and drought cut into some beef supplies in 2018. All in all, that means there’s a lot of demand on our beef𠅊nd that means you’re likely paying more each time you buy.

These eight beef cuts are incredibly flavorful, but they’re unique and less likely to be spotted in your regular supermarket meats section. You may need to ask the butcher if they carry the cut or seek out a specialty butcher shop where your neighbor Joe (they’re always named Joe, yes?) can become your new BBF (best beef friend).

Watch: How to Make Pan Seared Chuck Eye Steaks

Chuck Steak

This cut of beef is known as the 7-bone steak because, well, it has a lot of bones. It comes from the shoulder (the chuck), right beside the ribeye. That means it has all the beautiful flavor of a ribeye, but it has a much lower price tag.

Cook chuck steaks the same way you would a ribeye: quick sear on a grill or cast-iron skillet. Thick-cut chuck steaks can be great in a slow-cooker recipe. It has a little more chew than tender ribeye, and of course those bones, but if you’re not afraid of a little work, you’ll be mightily rewarded with a beautiful beef experience.

Flat Iron

Also in the shoulder, you’ll find a fine steak that sits on the cow’s shoulder bladers. It may be sold as top blade or flat iron steak. The steak is actually two different muscles connected by a thick line of gristle. The gristle is often cut away to produce two cuts.

Flat iron steaks are very flavorful and buttery thanks to some good marbling. They behave and taste a lot like the more expensive flank steak. Because they’re so tender, you don’t need to do much more than grill a flat iron steak and season it with salt and pepper, or use a quick spice rub for tacos. This cut of steak would be great as a salad topper, too, or served with a creamy cauliflower mash and pan sauce.

Chuck-Eye Steak

The name may be similar to the first one on the list, but this is indeed a different cut. (To be honest, beef cuts share a lot of the same names, and it can be quite confusing.) This steak is basically a ribeye. In fact, it’s often called the “poor man’s ribeye.” It comes from the same part of the cow as the prize ribeye, but it’s cut thinner so butchers can get an extra piece to sell.

Cook chuck-eye steaks just like you would a real ribeye. Give it a little salt and pepper, and sear it on a cast-iron skillet or grill. Don’t overload this cut with a marinade or souped up steak sauce. It’s mild and buttery, so just let the flavor shine on its own.

Petite Tender

You may see this cut listed as teres major or petite tender at the butcher, but no matter the name, think these three words: cheap hanger steak. Once upon a time, hanger steak made these lists of cheap beef cuts because no one knew what that incredibly tender cut of beef was. Today, however, the secret is out. So the cheaper solution to the once-cheap hanger steak is petite tender or teres major.

This cut of beef acts like a filet mignon: lean, tender, and spongy when cooked right. Cut it into medallions and sear like filet mignon steaks, or sear the outside in a high-heat skillet and roast until medium-rare. If you’re lucky, your dinner guests won’t know the difference between this budget-friendly beef cut and the real McCoy mignon.

Tri-Tip Sirloin Steak

The good news of this cut may be out already, but if you haven’t heard the gospel of the tri-tip steak, let us preach: This steak comes from a triangle-shaped muscle at the bottom of the sirloin. It’s often overlooked because it’s not particularly pretty (it doesn’t make consistently-sized steaks), but for the person who has no problem finding the beauty in some ugly ducklings, this is the steak for you.

The tri-tip sirloin steak takes well to a marinade and grilling. Cook it to medium to help break down some of the connective tissue that runs through it, or slice against the grain (at least as best you can) to make it more tender.

Beef Shank

Short ribs have grown too big for their britches, if we do say so. The prices for those braising beef favorites have taken on a life of their own. So if you love the flavor of beef short ribs and want them for your meals, but loathe the price tag, pick up a pack of beef shank (or beef chins) instead.

These cuts have an incredibly beefy flavor that performs best in a long braise. Bonus: look at that marrow-packed bone in each cut. That’s a well of rich flavor waiting for your stew or roast.

Denver Steaks

I tried to discover why this cut is called a Denver steak, and I came up empty-handed. Still, Denver, you should be proud to share the name.

This cut of beef, which comes from the chuck primal cut, is also known as the boneless chuck short rib. However, don’t be confused—they are not deboned short ribs, and they don’t have to be braised. This cut is sometimes tricky for a butcher to get, so you may have a hard time finding it. However, let your BBF know you’re looking for it, and I bet you’ll have a cut waiting for you at your next visit.

These steaks are tender and flavorful, great for grilling or slicing for a quick sauté. Slice against the grain to cut through some of the marbling and connective tissue. Don’t overcook these steaks either. They’ll turn tough in the blink of an eye.

Merlot

The merlot cut comes from the side of the cow’s heel. While these hind leg cuts are often very lean (aka tough) because of their heavy use, this one manages to be quite tender. Because of its stronger flavor but tender texture, this cut is great in everything from stir-fries to sheet-pan dinners.

The merlot cut gets it name from its ruby red color. That’s the blood in the cut. Indeed, if you’re blood-averse, avoid this cut. Also, don’t overcook the merlot cut. It will very quickly produce an irony flavor.


Meatballs with spaghetti

Keep these homemade meatballs with spaghetti under budget by using dried herbs and skipping the Parmesan. Use stale bread to make homemade breadcrumbs - tastier (and cheaper) than shop-bought ones.

Total cost: £3.67 (Asda)
Cost per person: 91p

Items: Smartprice pork & beef mince (500g) £1.66, onions 16p, Smartprice chopped tomatoes (400g) 31p, Chosen by You green pesto sauce (190g) £1, Smartprice spaghetti (500g) 19p, tomato puree (142g) 35p

Image credit: TI Media Limited

20 Dinner Recipes for Picky Eaters

We wish we could say we had the answer to solving all of your problems, but we can at least say we have the answer to what to make your picky eaters for dinner!

We get it. There are not enough hours in the day to do everything a mom needs to do. And at the end of the day, no tired mom wants to try and figure out what’s for dinner. Especially if she’s trying to feed to picky eaters!

If you love these 20 Recipes for Picky Eaters, you will love our perfectly curated menu plans sent straight to you! With our meal plans, dinner planning and ordering your groceries takes less time than heating up a bowl of soup.

We’ve partnered with Prepear to bring you easy and delicious meals each week. We completely take the thinking out of meal time so you can ENJOY dinnertime with your family rather than dread it!

All of our recipes are family-friendly and Picky Eater Approved! Trust us, we have the toughest critics.

I have three, little picky eaters at my house which can make dinnertime a battle! I am always looking for recipes that they will eat without complaining, and these recipes did the trick!

Here are 20 Recipes for Picky Eaters (that will actually be eaten!):

Quick and Easy Calzones

Broccoli Mac n’ Cheese


10 Cheap Meals To Make When You're On A Tight Budget

Versatile, affordable ingredients that are key to a smart (and long-lasting) shopping list.

By Heather MacMullin Updated January 18, 2021

Pasta is a great option for a cheap meal—especially if you go one step further and make homemade tomato sauce. (Photo, Erik Putz.)

Grocery shopping in the midst of a pandemic is a much different experience—even if your budget hasn’t changed. Whether you are now shopping on a reduced budget, or simply struggling with long-term meal planning it’s important to know which ingredients will go the extra mile in the kitchen (and pantry).

First, think about legumes (like lentils and chickpeas), then there’s the canned goods (low-budget multi-taskers like beans and tomatoes), frozen vegetables, affordable grains like rice and oats and, of course, the versatile egg. Each of these ingredients has a range of applications, is easy to use, and adds more flexibility to your wallet—and gives breakfast for dinner (maybe the best use for eggs?) an excuse to stay in the dinner roster.

Here are 10 simple staples to add to your grocery list—and the cheap meals you can make with them.


74 Delightful Homemade Soap Recipes That Are Fun to Make

Jennifer is a full-time homesteader who started her journey in the foothills of North Carolina in 2010. Currently, she spends her days gardening, caring for her orchard and vineyard, raising chickens, ducks, goats, and bees. Jennifer is an avid canner who provides almost all food for her family needs. She enjoys working on DIY remodeling projects to bring beauty to her homestead in her spare times.

Have you ever noticed how the most basic household items can bust your budget wide open? And they always seem to all need to be purchased at once? Well, you no longer have to worry about soap being a budget buster. Soap can easily be made at home for a fraction of the cost.

Especially, if you grow or raise certain items that go into making different types of soaps. Not to mention, homemade soap also makes great gifts too.

So without further introduction, here are the best soap recipes that are sure to help you create your own soap masterpieces and save you money too.

1. Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

We go through a ton of hand soap at my house. When you operate a small farm your hands obviously touch some interesting things.

Practicing good hygiene is very important. This recipe helps you create a great foaming hand soap. Plus, it also shares a great tutorial on making a mason jar soap dispenser.

2. Goat’s Milk Body Wash

Body wash certainly counts as soap. It is another item we go through a lot in our home. I love body wash because it doesn’t leave soap scum on your shower walls.

But I also love this recipe because it is all-natural, and you know what you are rubbing over your body’s largest organ. If you need a creamy body wash that you can make at home, then consider this recipe.

3. Megan’s Liquid Gel Dishwasher Detergent

Dishwasher packets and liquid is becoming more and more expensive. However, I love my dishwasher as it saves me a lot of time.

If you find yourself in this same boat, then give this recipe a try. Hopefully, it will do a satisfactory job in your opinion and save you a little cash in the process.

4. Oatmeal Soap

I almost always have oatmeal on hand. The fact that I can take this pantry staple and turn it into a great homemade soap makes me love this recipe all the more.

So if you have lots of oatmeal on hand, or even if you are looking for an inexpensive soap ingredient then you’ll probably want to try your hand at this oatmeal soap.

5. No-Lye Liquid Castile Soap

Castile soap is a great soap to have around. It can be used on hair or skin. Plus, if you have sensitive skin it might be a good alternative because there are few ingredients.

Actually, I use castile soap to make DIY dog shampoo. In case any of this sounds appealing to you, then you’ll probably want to give this recipe a try.

6. 10 Minute DIY Milk and Honey Soap

This soap is one that I love everything about. I love that I raise most of the ingredients right here on my own land.

Also, I love the design of this soap as well. Not to mention, it takes so little time to make. If you need a nice soap that won’t take a long time to make then give this recipe a try.

7. Homemade Dish Soap

The price of dish soap has climbed in recent years. Plus, I’m not sure what is in store-bought dish soap. That concerns me as it is rubbing all over my hands on a regular basis.

So if you share some of the same concerns, then you might want to consider this basic dish soap recipe. The great thing is you can make some of the ingredients she recommends to purchase. I’ve actually already listed recipes in this post.

8. Lye Free Soap

A lot of people don’t play with making soap because of the lye step. Dealing with lye can be very scary if you don’t use extreme precautions.

However, this soap takes that fear out of the equation. You have to purchase previously made soap in order to safely include lye. But the danger of handling lye has been eliminated for you in this recipe.

9. Homemade Liquid Hand/Body Soap

I am so thrilled with this recipe. It requires only a few dollars in materials, and you can make gallons of soap.

If you have an old milk jug, a bar of soap, a few dollars to purchase a bottle of glycerin, and some water then you are ready to make your own liquid hand or body soap.

10. Mother’s Day Soap

Are you looking for a great gift for mom, whether for Christmas, birthday, or Mother’s Day? Well, if so, then take a glance at this soap making recipe.

You can make it with a variety of designs and make it your own with different scents if you wish. It is a great, inexpensive personalized gift.

11. Shampoo Bar

I am more of a liquid shampoo type of girl. However, my husband and boys prefer a solid shampoo bar. So if this is your preference, then you might want to check out this recipe so you can make your own.

12. 1-Step Homemade Shaving Cream

Shaving cream counts as a type of soap, right? It is used in your morning routine so we are going to count it for this post.

If you need an easy, inexpensive shaving cream that can double as a great moisturizer, then you’ll want to check out this recipe.

13. Cream Soap

This stuff just looks delicious. It reminds me of homemade whipped cream. If you can only imagine how great soap of that texture would feel on your skin.

Well, if that sounds absolutely wonderful to you, then you’ll want to try this soap. It is only four basic ingredients and will hopefully make your new favorite soap.

14. Homemade Body Wash

Homemade body wash just appears so creamy and almost entices you to hurry and take a shower. Your skin just desires that creamy moisture to soothe any roughness or dryness.

Well, this homemade body wash is no different. There is an easy to follow recipe and tutorial to help you along with making this soap.

15. Crockpot Lotion Bars

Lotion bars go hand in hand with homemade soap as they help add moisture to your skin after showering.

So if you’d like to have your own lotion bars (especially those that can be easily made in the crockpot) then you need to check out this recipe.

16. Homemade Goats Milk Soap

I love goat’s milk. I raise goats and besides the fact that they are adorable and entertaining, I love their milk.

When I discovered I could make soap with their goats’ milk, it absolutely tickled me. If you love goat’s milk soap, then you’ll want to give this recipe a quick glance.

17. Homemade Lotion

This post is all about skincare, frugality, and making what we need. The lotion is no exception to any of these rules.

After you finish using your homemade body soap, you’ll probably need some lotion to continue to care for your skin. Don’t buy it if you can make it. Thanks to this recipe, you can make your own lotion with only three ingredients.

18. Homemade Lotion Bars

These are traditional lotion bars that require only a few simple ingredients to make. They make great gifts as well as items to use for yourself daily.

Whether you are looking to be more self-reliant or just frugal, you’ll want to give this lotion recipe a glance.

19. Homemade Milk Bath

Do you like taking relaxing baths? Well, if so, then you’ll want to consider making this milk bath for yourself.

This milk bath is great for treating dry skin, irritated skin, or even just to add for a little extra relaxation.

20. Neapolitan Soap Pops

These soap pops look delicious. They would make great gifts that would be cute while functional too.

Also, they would be great to make for your own home décor. Just be sure to warn your guest not to eat the soap.

21. Homemade Chap Stick

Chapstick is another staple that we use regularly around our home. Though it isn’t technically soap, it is still something that can be used for moisture.

So if you love chapstick, then you might want to give this recipe a chance. If it works for you, then you no longer have to pay high prices for a store-bought lip moisturizer.

22. 10 Minute Peppermint Soap

It’s Christmas time, and you have no idea what to buy for some people. Maybe it is your neighbors that you smile and wave to daily, but don’t really know on a personal level.

Or it could be the family member that has everything! Well, don’t fret. Instead, make them this peppermint soap that takes only around 10 minutes to throw together.

23. DIY Goldfish Soap for Kids

Do you have a child that hates to take a bath? Well, give them some fun soap and see if that changes things.

You can make them this awesome soap that looks like a goldfish in a bag. With this tutorial, you should be able to figure out how to turn bath time into fun time.

24. Sea Mud Soap

This soap doesn’t sound very enticing, but give it a chance. Sea mud is also known as French green clay has a lot of awesome benefits for your skin.

If you like a soap that is going to help add nutrients to your body while you bathe, then you might want to give this soap recipe a chance.

25. Tea Tree Oil Soap

I love tea tree oil. It treats so many different things. This soap claims to naturally treat acne and other breakouts.

So if you would like to attack your acne problem from a natural place, then give this recipe a try.

26. Fish in a Bag Soap

This is another cute fish in a bag tutorial. This one adds a few different colors. Again, this might be a great way to turn bath time into a fun time for kiddos that hate baths.

So if you are tired of that daily struggle to get your kids to bathe and do so properly, then try this fun soap recipe that might actually make them want to bathe.

27. Cranberry Sauce Soap

If you know me, you know how much I love all things cranberry. I love cranberry juice, cranberry relish, and cranberry sauce.

Why would cranberry soap be any different? If you love cranberries too, then you might want to try this awesome recipe.

28. Avocado Cucumber and Oats Soap

This soap looks amazing. This will be another one that you’ll have to remind those you give it to for use to not eat.

But the tutorial seems to be really thorough. Even if you are new to soap making, you could most likely have a successful batch of this soap in no time.

29. Shea Butter Coconut Milk Soap

I love shea butter and coconut milk too. They are great natural moisturizers. If you suffer from dry skin (especially in the winter months), then you might want to check this soap out.

Not to mention, the tutorial seems really thorough which should make the soap making process go smoother.

30. Bourbon Whiskey Vanilla Bean Soap

This sounds like an interesting concoction for soap, but if you like giving unique gifts or using unique products then this might be a good soap option for you.

But what really sold me on this recipe is the safety precautions they take. They provide links for those that are new to soap making so they do so safely.

31. Bath Time Play Dough

This is another way to make bath time fun for the kids. Whether you make this for your own children, want to include it as a stocking stuffer, or a gift for a child in your life they will most likely love it.

If you love this idea, then follow the recipe, and hopefully, you will have found your new ‘kid-friendly’ soap.

32. Rosemary and Lemon Kitchen Soap

Do you chop a lot of onions or garlic in your kitchen? If so, then you know how hard it is to remove that odor from your hands.

Well, with this soap you don’t have to worry about that. The lemon is a natural way to kill the odors and therefore would be great in most kitchens.

33. Mojito Soap

This soap would make a fun gift to share with friends and family members. If you have friends that really love the minty smell of a mojito, then you’ll know that they’ll love this soap.

If you would like a minty recipe that smells similar to how a mojito tastes, then follow this recipe and see what you think.

34. Thyme and Witch Hazel Facial Soap

Do you use expensive facial products? Would you like to save some money? If so, then you should check out this facial bar recipe.

This soap sounds wonderful just by looking at the recipe. There are so many different oils used in it that naturally moisturize your face.

35. Easy, Beginner, Liquid DIY Castile Soap

The words ‘easy’ and ‘beginner’ should be encouraging to any new soap maker when it comes to this recipe.

So if you’d like to make your own castile soap but aren’t really sure where to start, then look no further than this recipe. Give it a try.

36. Homemade Poppy Seed Soap

This recipe is another one that uses melt and pour soap. For people that aren’t comfortable using regular lye, then this might be a good option.

Plus, this soap can be made in around 30 minutes. This is a great way to make your natural and fresh soap using up very little time.

37. DIY Liquid Hand Soap with Essential Oils

This recipe calls for only a few minor ingredients. The great news about them is that a lot of those ingredients can be homemade as well which should save you more money in the process.

However, whether you buy the ingredients or not, this recipe claims to be super simple to make. Why not go for a natural, especially if it is inexpensive and easy?


The 10 Best Budget Bourbons

With the holidays behind us, it's time to scale back, tighten the belt, buckle down, and engage in other cliches that mean spending less money on booze. This week, we'll start considering the best ways to save a little cash and still drink well, one spirit at a time.

Today, I'm covering bourbon. We're lucky, as bourbon drinkers. The bourbon industry has the resources and capacity to make massive quantities of corn juice, and the expertise to do it well. This means that you can find plenty of good bourbon on a budget. Now, that's not to say every budget bourbon is good, heck no. Some of it is dreck. But look around, and you'll find the good stuff easily enough. Here, I'm going to discuss 10 of my favorites.

In a world where most hooch is sold at an industry-standard 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume), you might notice how many of these are at a higher proof. When you compare these to top-shelf bourbons that charge you $45 for an 80-proof bottle, they seem like an even better deal.

How do I define "budget"? Well, that's going to change from time to time. You can find some damn good bourbons for under $20, for example, but you won't find many good Scotches in that price range. So for today's post, I peg "budget" at anything $20 and under. All prices noted here are for 750-milliliter bottles, though prices will vary depending where you live.

Fighting Cock (103 proof, $18)

I love this bourbon. This six-year-old high-rye bourbon is a great value for the price, and it simply tastes good. I'd say it compares to Wild Turkey 101—it's very similar, in fact, but about five bucks cheaper. When I have the five extra bucks, I go with the Turkey instead of the Cock, mainly because I feel kind of like a frat boy when I buy Fighting Cock. Still, the name aside, Fighting Cock is perhaps my favorite on this list. Makes a killer Old Fashioned and an equally good Manhattan, and it could work in any number of whiskey drink recipes. It's one of the most versatile bourbons on this list—it's great for sipping and for mixing.

Old Fitzgerald Prime (80 proof, $14)

Old Fitzgerald is a wheated bourbon, with a soft, smooth, mildly sweet flavor. As a wheater, it tastes similar to Maker's or W. L. Weller: mellow, with hints of citrus and tree fruit. It mixes well, and it's a decent sipper. Although I think Weller is by far the best wheated bourbon on the market, I like Old Fitzgerald a little better than Maker's, especially given the price difference.

Jim Beam Black Label (90 proof, $20)

The 8-year old expression of Beam (its white-labeled brother is 4 years old) shows the benefit of longer barrel aging. I'm not a fan of the white-label release I find it a little one-note. But the black label is just what you want bourbon to be: smooth, with just the exact amounts of vanilla, caramel, and woodiness you want from good bourbon whiskey. If I were going to select a bourbon to give to someone who's never had bourbon before, I think I might pick the Beam Black. It does what bourbon should, and its proof level isn't so high it would scare anyone off.

Evan Williams Black Label (86 proof, $14)

Aged 5 to 7 years, Evan Williams is a solid bourbon, and it rightfully appears on most lists of the best budget whiskeys. I can usually get a 1.75L handle of it for about 25 bucks, and it lasts . well, let's not about how long it takes me to drink through a handle of bourbon. But if you don't need that much bourbon around at any one time, 14 bucks for a 750 is a pretty darned good deal. I prefer Evan Williams for sipping more than for mixing I think it's a little flat in cocktails, except perhaps for an Old Fashioned.

Very Old Barton Bottled in Bond (100 proof, $14)

I tried very hard to limit this list to bourbons that are widely available, but I had to throw Old Barton in here. It's somewhat hard to find outside of Kentucky—apparently, the Bluegrass State prefers to keep the good stuff mostly to itself. Hey, I won't judge. What you've got here is a bonded bourbon whiskey that has some age on it and still retails for fourteen bucks. If you don't like that, I can't help you. VOB is a flavorful bourbon, packed with fruit and spice and a hint of rye. You can mix with it, and you can sip it, but either way, I think you'll enjoy it. Incidentally, I used to get mine at LeNell's in Red Hook, Brooklyn, way back when. Now that she's in Alabama, I'm not sure how to get it in New York aside from ordering it online. If you ever happen to see a bottle, though, buy it. If anything knocks Fighting Cock from the top of my list, it would be the VOB.

Old Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond (100 proof, $12)

Here's just one more that might not be super-widely available, but I need to include it because it's such a good value. Old Heaven Hill is a basic bourbon, from the company that brings you Evan Williams, Fighting Cock, and Old Fitzgerald (sound familiar?), plus Elijah Craig and Rittenhouse Rye. Here's a 100-proofer for 12 bucks. It's not a super-complex bourbon, but what do you expect for the price? It's good on ice and it's also good in cocktails, especially an Old Fashioned.

Old Crow Reserve (86 proof, $13)

Old Crow Reserve is a bump up from regular Old Crow. It's 86 proof, compared to Crow's 80, and it's four years old instead of three. I found that I liked it more in cocktails than I did on the rocks, so if you like your Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, but you want to economize, this is a good way to go.

Old Grand-Dad (80 proof, $17)

You remember last year when Beam Inc. planned to lower the proof of Maker's Mark? Remember the backlash? At about the same time, Beam dropped the proof on Old Grand-Dad (from 86 to 80), and hardly anyone noticed. Nevertheless, I think it's still a bargain at $17. It tastes a little spicier to me than anything else in Beam's low-cost portfolio, implying that it might be a little more rye-heavy. I like this on the rocks and in cocktails, too.

If you want to drop a few extra bucks, and if you can find them, Grandpa also has a bonded version ($21) and a 114-proof ($25), both of which are better than the original. But they're just outside my price range for this piece, so I'm going with the OG.

Four Roses Yellow Label (80 proof, $20)

Four Roses made the top-selling bourbon in America until just after World War II, and thanks to the perambulations of American servicemen during and after that conflict, it became popular in Japan, as well. Seagram's bought the company and turned it into a blended whiskey, mostly grain neutral spirit with a bit of bourbon added for flavor. So the top-selling brand in America became cheap rotgut. But only in America. Japan still got the good stuff.

In 2002, the brand was purchased by Kirin Brewing of Japan, and the Kirin folks decided to discontinue the blended product. Kirin took the step of purchasing back all blended bottles of Four Roses still on shelves in the United States and destroying them. Then the brand got quiet for a time in the U.S., until it slowly started rolling out its small-batch and single-barrel releases.

The yellow label, though, was still associated in consumer minds with rotgut, so Four Roses bided its time, and finally reintroduced the yellow label years later, this time as a true bourbon whiskey.

What you find with the small batch and single barrel releases are bourbons that are very expressive in certain distinct ways. Maybe one release is a little fruitier, for example, or spicier. With Yellow, what you get is a bourbon that is just the basic Four Roses style of bourbon, consistent from year to year and from batch to batch. It's never going to surprise you the way the fancy limited releases might, but it'll also never disappoint you. I mentioned earlier that Beam Black might be the one bourbon I'd pick to introduce someone to bourbon. Four Roses Yellow is the other choice I'd offer, both for mixing and sipping.

Benchmark Old No. 8 (80 proof, $10)

A high-rye bourbon from Buffalo Trace, Benchmark is a good, solid bourbon for just $10. The rye gives it a little spice and kick, but it's still a pretty smooth sipper. I wouldn't necessarily serve it to guests, but it's fine when you have only a little money to spend, and you need something reliable. It's fine to sip or just to mix into a highball. Depending on where you are, you might even find a 1.75L handle for $20, which puts even the big guy in the 'budget' range.

Share Your Picks!

Tell me, what are your go-to budget bourbons? What would you add to this list?


Budgeting Tip for Inconsistent Income

Good news, guys. You can budget with an inconsistent or irregular income. A good rule of thumb is to budget based on what a low-earning month would look like for you. This will be your budgeting income. Here&rsquos how it works:

  • List the things you&rsquod put in your budget. Include things like giving, saving, the Four Walls, etc.
  • Prioritize your list. Ask yourself, If we had a horrible month and only had enough money to do one thing on this list, what would it be? Put a 1 next to that item.
  • Keep going. List your second priority with a 2 and go on through your budget that way, marking items by importance. Remember, necessities always come first.

Using this method will not only make your budget work for you, but it will show you exactly where your money is going.


My favourite 8 freezer friendly meals that the family will love

When it comes to prepping family-friendly meals specifically for the freezer here are my top 8. Enjoy!

1. Roasted pumpkin soup

257 calories

Velvety and smooth, sweet and savoury, this perfectly balanced roasted pumpkin soup freezes well and can be reheated within minutes.

What makes this soup so hearty and satisfying is the addition of cannellini beans. I simply add a dash of yoghurt and a few bacon bits after I reheat. YUM!

2. Porcupine meatballs

225 calories per serve

These porcupine meatballs are a family favourite. Not only does my husband love them the kids do too.

And with two fussy little eaters, the rich tasty tomato sauce does a great job of hiding all the vegetables that I pack into these delicious meatballs. If only my children knew! Quick to prepare, I then put them in the slow cooker where they continue to cook for five hours. When they are done, I pack them away into freezer containers and I’m good to go!

3. Budget beef stew

456 calories

Feeding a family can be an expensive exercise which is why The Healthy Mummy Weight Loss Challenges provide thousands of budget-friendly recipes. But being on a budget doesn’t mean we have to miss out on flavour.

This budget beef stew is tasty and delicious and the perfect comfort food on a cool night. I’ll sometimes serve this with pasta or rice for the kids and swap out the vegetables depending on what I have in the fridge.

4. Mexican lasagne

575 calories

I’m yet to meet a mum that doesn’t give the Mexican Lasagne a HUGE thumbs up. It’s oh so good for you and goes a loooong way.

I tend to meal prep a couple of these at a time and divide up in larger portions for my husband and smaller portions for myself and my kids. I promise your husband will be asking for seconds!

5. Yellow chicken curry

382 calories per serve

If you love Thai food then you will go nuts for this vege packed yellow chicken curry recipe. It not only smells divine, but it is also full of flavour and tastes even better when reheated.

For my fussy kids, I’ll often pull a few pieces of chicken out and serve on a bed of rice. That way, we are all happy!

6. Spinach and sweet potato lasagne

411 calories

If you have never tried spinach and sweet potato lasagne I highly recommend you do. It’s like a big mama bear hug in a dish. All the yumminess of lasagne but with way fewer calories.

It’s the perfect meal to have ready in the freezer for when friends unexpectedly drop in for dinner. I simply reheat it in the oven or microwave.

7. Chicken laksa

390 calories

I am all about saving time on my food prep which is why I like this chicken laksa recipe so much. I divide up into several containers and I am all set!

8. Chicken and chorizo enchiladas

260 calories

There is something comforting about having your own individual wrap on your plate. And these tasty little enchiladas don’t disappoint. I divide them up and put a couple in each freezer container so I pull out exactly what I need.


Sample Cheap Meal Plan

Week One

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – Oatmeal and banana

Tuesday and Thursday – Eggs and toast

Saturday and Sunday – Pancakes or egg bake, and fruit

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – Peanut butter and jelly (or honey) sandwich and pretzels or fruit

Tuesday and Thursday – Tuna or egg salad sandwich

Saturday and Sunday – Grilled cheese sandwich, or cheese quesadilla

Thursday – Black bean burgers

Saturday – BBQ pulled chicken



Comments:

  1. Ereonberht

    I absolutely agree with you. There is something about that, and it's a good idea. I support you.

  2. Tojatilar

    Thank you for a very interesting note.

  3. Sagis

    With talent...



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