Monthly Archives: January 2015

Homemade instant lunches 2.0


cost: varies
Success: 5/5

A couple years ago I started making my own instant lunches with mixed success. I gave up after a while.

My issues:

  • Flavour really didn’t have oomph
  • Noodles were starchy and gross
  • Freeze-dried vegetables are lame
  • No proteins – not filling

The good thing about the Internet is that there is always someone who’s found a solution to any problem I may have. A few months ago a friend shared a link to Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles which was inspired by a method found in this cookbook. At first I didn’t like the idea of my vegetables touching my noodles in the fridge because I have a thing with flavour seepage, but I got over myself.

I’ve used the Serious Eats method for two weeks now, and I’ve had success every time.

First, it’s important to use a good base, and Better than Boullion Bullion Bouillon really gives a robust flavour that I haven’t come across in any other flavour bases [I’ve given up on spelling the b-word].

Real vegetables also make a huge difference, and frozen vegetables are super cheap. Much less than freeze-dried ones.

The noodle choice is also a big deal. I’ve tried vermicelli and pre-cooked noodles. Pre-cooked chow mein noodles work well, but they expire quickly.  Vermicelli is great, but not as hearty.

And the meat! I’ve tried beef jerky and cooked shrimp so far. Both have been delicious. This is the most expensive part, so in the future I may try chickpeas as a protein.

Some carry-overs from my previous method:

  • Bean flakes are great for flavour and protein
  • I prefer coconut milk powder to coconut milk because it’s dry
  • My mom’s dried herbs make things extra-tasty and extra fresh
  • Cheeses – especially Parmesan – keep well and add a lot of flavour

No photo today, but there are some very pretty if you follow the link above.


Hey look, I’m still around!


I’m still around, still being pretty thrifty.

Today is exactly 3 years since I started my mortgage. Buying my townhouse is still one of my proudest accomplishments.

After the first few months of my mortgage, I got a better idea of what I could handle financially and I was no longer freaking out. In May of 2012 when I was about to turn 30, I decided to upgrade my camera and get my first professional-quality lens. It was a big “screw this!” to turning 30, but also a protest against letting money control me to the extent it had. Since then I’ve gotten even more into photography. It’s definitely not a hobby ‘on the cheap’, but maybe one day I’ll earn money with it.

I also adopted a cat! I started fostering cats two years ago. At the time I was still getting over the death of my cat, Schnurri. It was a perfect solution for me – cat love without cat commitment or expenses. I’ll write more about that another day.

Here is Teddy, hepped up on catnip.


Lately my car is the reason I can’t have nice things. I had a big scare just before Christmas when my battery light went on once again. The battery had already been replaced and the alternator had been repaired, so the meant it was an issue (i$$ue?) with the car’s computer. I snapped right back into Cheapass mode and started looking at things in the same way I had just after I bought my townhouse – carefully evaluating every purchase and expense. I forgot how oddly empowering it was.

Thankfully my mechanic found a much less expensive fix that bypasses the computer, so I’m not in the same state of financial crisis. Still, being thriftier again is probably a good idea.