Thursday, June 26, 2008

Am I nuts or just cheap?

Here are my wonderful organinc walnuts that I buy in big 3 kg bags from a farm. They are wonderful and I don't even use them so much in baking or cooking because I tend to eat them on their own. I love the sound of them cracking, so usually I just shell them one by one and pop them in my mouth! Another thing I love to do with my walnuts is toast them in the oven with the shells on. I've learned this when I lived for a while in Italy, my roommate's mom would send her bags of this toasted walnuts, that we would eat with cheese and bread as night snacks. Those were the days!... So next time you're using your oven just put a tray with some whole walnuts and toast for a while. Temperature and time is really relative, but as a guidance you can do it for about 15 minuts at 180ºC (350ºF). After cooling they'll open really easily, you can do it just by pressing them with your hands. They'll be crunchy and they're great with cheeses and fruits. It's a good thing to serve as an appetizer at parties as well.

So now that I gave you some nut tips I'll give you some cheap tips, that in my case are a bit related with my nuts. See the nice plate where I keep them? Well that's actually a turnable plate that also dobles as a cake decorating device...

I live in a place where finding cake decorating ustensils is very difficult or very expensive, so I usually prefer to use imagination rather than money. Imagination is much cheaper I tell you! So for a "Wilton style" cake decorating turntable, I use a regular cake stand on top of my walnut plate. Cool, hein?

What about these wooden sticks? Have you ever checked the prices of big no-handles rolling pins? Well I have and was not impressed! So on a recent trip to the DYI store I got a huge wood stick that was originally sold to use on some gardening thingy. I got it cut right there in the store and got two amazing rolling pins with different sizes for less than 3€!

Before using I sanded them a bit and they were good to go. I think Alton Brown would be so proud of me!

Do you have any saving-money tips yourself?


Tanya said...

I love the cake turntable idea! And what a great idea for the rolling pins. They can be expensive here too and the only reason I have my rolling pin is because I got it as a gift for Christmas.

I can't say I'm as creative as you when it comes to improvising. The only thing I can think of is that I use parchment paper or Ziploc bags in place of pastry bags sometimes.

Madeleine said...

Hiciste lo mismo que yo para tener palos de amasar!! fui al Home Depot y me cortaron uno en trozos! jeje! y super barato.. como 20 pesos!! :)

Muy buenas ideas las tuyas!!!


Sharon said...

I came by your site just 10 minutes too late! I have been using odd objects around the house as rolling pins and figured it was time to spring for one. I just came back from the store & had no clue they were so expensive! Your idea is much more economical. Too bad I threw away my receipt.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Tanya- I've had to use Ziploc bags as well as pastry bags, they work fine!

Madeleine- Jejeje, que bueno al final no soy la unica loca que hago estas cosas!

Sharon- Shame... Oh well, you allready have them so you might as well enjoy them, lol!

Prudy said...

I love your money saving tips! Also, that was a great idea about toasting the nuts in the shell. Our neighbor's tree drops pecans in my yard and I get tired of cracking the nuts in the door. I'm going to gather up a bunch and give it a go!

Sweet Tooth said...

I usually drive my husband nuts because I love to spend time in hardware stores much more than he does. There are so many great things to find there. I bought a chocolate spray gun from a professional pastry supply company years ago just to find one for a quarter of the price in a hardware store later. - Lesson learned. Save money in hardware stores - I think this post is a great intro to saving money this way!
Thanks for sharing,

Jenny said...

Great tips! I love all of your ideas, the cake turntable is genius! Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Yo no sabia que hablas espagnol. De donde vienes?
No hay secretos para tu querido zenchef. Haha. :-)

Me gusta tu ideas tambien. Hehe.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Prudy- Saving money goes with your "pennywiseness". I'm sure the pecans wouls be great as well in the oven. Let me know!

Alexandra- Oh yes I've been looking for chocolate sprays as well in the hardware stores, they're so much cheaper and exactly the same. Same thing for some spatulas.

Jenny- I'm quite proud of the cake turntable myself! Have a nice weekend as well!

Zen- Tu es fou!

Lore said...

Thanks for the nuts tip. I'm definitely nuts after nuts ;) and just like you I'd rather eat them as is.
As for the money saving tips, I used to have a wine bottle for a rolling pin, and glasses for cookie cutters :D

Emiline said... you live in Europe? I'm SO visiting you!

You are so gosh-darn thrifty. I would have never thought of these things.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Lore- I remember rolling out dough with a bottle as well, lol!

Emiline- Oh yes come visit, I'll give you all the ice-cream you can eat!

Noor said...

Hi, this is Noor from Ya Salam Cooking! I just love seeing all the yummy things that you bake and hope that you can participate in this months baking event, we would love to have you join!

Mobula said...


tu trenza se ve absolutamente deliciosa y me ha encantado la idea para conseguir los rodillos de amasar... me tendré que pasar por una tiena de bricolage...



Clumbsy Cookie said...

Noor- I'm gonna check it!

Ana- Gracias! Si la verdad es que en las tiendas de bricolage se encuentran cosas muy bienas y baratas para la cocina!