Saturday, August 9, 2008

Recession Reading: Coupons are Cool?

This is old news, but I'm in Scotland so I'm a little slow (too many pints). The New York Times has called attention to a new movement-- apparently us gals at Recession This! are Frugalistas. Check out this article on the new hip hobby: clipping coupons! I tried one of those coupon sites years ago and thought they were a waste of time-- I'll have to check out and and report back. It will be hard to convert me-- I sort of enjoy the mindless browsing through the Sunday coupons... there's something soothing (and very minorly crafty) about getting out the scissors. And I don't need more time on the computer...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Quick Tips

Starbucks is becoming my new favorite company. They recognize when they need to make changes to keep their business afloat in this crazy economy. So here's a quick tip for all you coffee lovers: if you make a purchase before 2:00p.m., bring your receipt back after 2:00p.m. for a grande cold drink for $2.00. Same day only. Not only will you save some cash, but if you drink your beverage in the store ask for a porcelain mug instead of a cardboard cup, and you'll be saving a tree as well!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Recessionista: Make Money Off Your Duds

Done with those Prada shoes and Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress? Take it over to Encore, a consignment shop that buys gently used designer garb from regular people like you. Encore will price your duds and split the sale with you 50/50. Price is determined by condition, style, and label. And, they only take what's in season, so don't try to sell that gorgeous Michael Kors skort in the winter.

So now you're saying, "Recessionista, I don't have a closet full of designer wear. I'm more of a vintage girl." Guess what? You can play this game, too. Cheap Jacks will buy your 1950's and older clothes outright. No sharing cost or splitting the profits. The owner is usually there from 12:00 - 4:00 to check out your collection, but call the day before to make sure he's in. Prices vary based on condition and age of the garment.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

UK Recession Sessions

Even the Brits are worried about Credit-crunch cuisine. This article caught my eye on the front page of The Times (not the New York Times) as I shopped for bargains at the Scotmid-- my Edinburgh corner store (much nicer than any NY bodega). They recommend The Frugal Cook-- a UK version of Recession This!-- right down to the identical green layout!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Recession About Town: Free Outdoor movies!

The August heat is here and it's a challenge to find ways to avoid running your A/C all the time. Try saving on your energy bill by checking out one of the many FREE Outdoor movie festivals in the city. Most are located in breezy, open areas to keep you cool and there's one for almost every day of the week!

Monday: The always crowded but classic Bryant Park Summer Film Festival is a fun night with a Hollywood classic. Get there early to find a good spot and picnic while you wait for the sun to go down. Get a group together for Superman on August 18.

Wednesday: FOUR great movie venues!
The Museum of the Moving Image is hosting free movies at Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria. Tonight's movie is a double-bill of The Red Balloon+Persepolis. Check the calendar for upcoming films.

Thompkins Square Park shows movies every other Wed night through September 19th. It's a small park, so arrive early to get an unobstructed view of the screen. The next flick is The Graduate on August 13 or get your scream on at The Shining on Sept 19.

On the West Side check out River Flicks for Grown-Ups every Wed at Hudson River Park- FREE popcorn! Tonight's movie is NYC classic Saturday Night Fever - the series ends with The Blues Brothers on August 20.

Summer on the Hudson: Movies Under the Stars brings free movies to Riverside Park on the UWS. This summer the theme is Election Night with the original Manchurian Candidate tonight, Primary Colors next Wed and ending with All the President's Men on August 20.

Thursday: Go for Movies With a View under the Brooklyn Bridge. Brooklyn Radio DJs set the scene, RICE provides meals on site and there's even free valet bike parking from Transportation Alternatives. Don't miss next week's screening of Cabaret!

Friday: River Flicks for Kids at Hudson River Park offers family/kid friendly movies that also appeal to adults and FREE popcorn. This Friday I'll be there for my favorite kid movie, The Goonies!

And check out other special outdoor screenings:
Central Park is showing free NYC-themed movies at Rumsey Playfield every night August 19 - 23. I know running girl will be there on August 22 for her favorite movie, Moonstruck.

Finally, Rooftop Films brings films of all kinds to NYC rooftops all summer long. Venues and times vary so check the schedule for up-to-date screenings and locations. Tonight Trouble on the Water, a documentary about an aspiring rap artist and her streetwise husband who are trapped in New Orleans by deadly floodwaters, screens at Harlem Meer in Central Park.

Get out there and keep cool!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday Night Cooking Challenge

Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

I finally put the Crock-Pot to the test last week and made this delicious stew. (Full disclosure: I made it on a Tuesday morning and not Sunday night.) Stews are great because they last for about 3 or more meals and they're pretty cheap to make. You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry. When I made it I only had to buy the beef for $5.75. Thanks to for this recipe.

* 1 1/2 pounds lean stew beef
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1 large onion (or 2 medium), halved and cut in 1/4 inch slices
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 large sweet potato, cut in 1 1/2-inch cubes
* 1/2 cup beef stock (canned, or from bouillon or base)
* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 to 1 cup frozen peas or green beans (thawed)
* salt and pepper to taste

Toss stew beef with the flour and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet; brown beef and onion. Place sweet potato cubes in the Crock Pot; add beef and onions. Mix beef broth with cinnamon and pour over beef mixture. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Add peas or green beans during the last 15 to 20 minutes. Good with biscuits.
Serves 4.