Lofi Starters is a blog series in which ideas are shared – no strings attached. Some of the ideas are developed, others are a sentence, and some are just a concept; a one word thought. People are free to take these ideas and run with it and if they want, they can keep me posted on how it develops.
The Culinary Cheat and Culinary Cheatsheet was an idea that I developed in 2015 based on my experiences blogging about food on a budget. I received favorable feedback and decided to develop it into a book series that could possibly turn into a cooking brand, podcast, or docu-series. I purchased the domain names culinarycheat.com and culinarycheatsheet.com and created social media handles for the idea.
Below is the introduction to the idea that I created. I also have a tentative outline of what I thought the book should contain. I thought it could be a two-part companion book series with a lot of vibrant photographs. Book one would be all about cooking and book two would be a in a format of a cheatsheet.
This idea would be great for someone who wants to start a blog or business around a food concept, but would like to give it a twist. This could be someone who likes to create guides for budget grocery shopping and eating. The target audience would be college students & young professionals.
The purpose of the Lofi Starters series is to share ideas that I have that I have decided not to pursue. These are just my thoughts on what I wanted to do, but you can take the domain (I let it expire this year) and the social media handles (I still own, so let me know if you need it) and transform it to what you desire.
Everything presented is as is and cleaned up a bit for clarity and typos.
I am a culinary cheat. I love to cook, but as a PhD student, I do not have the money to dedicate towards the culinary arts. Which is why I decided to become a culinary cheat, someone who loves to prepare and cook meals, but finds shortcuts in achieving the same grandiose meals that time and money provide.
I remember the first time I ever cooked a meal. After years of watching my mother cook, I decided at nine years old that I wanted to prepare a meal for my family. I asked my mother if I could make chicken and she said “you don’t know how to cook” and I responded, “yes, I do. I watch you all the time.” So under her watchful gaze, she gave me chicken and told me to cook. That day, I cleaned, seasoned, and prepared chicken all day I remember the pride in my mother’s eyes as she watched me serve our friends and family. From that day on, I was hooked to cooking! I had my mother order these recipe cards that came in the mail every so often and I would try out all the recipes. When I got a little older and after my mother passed away, I used to make lunch for myself and my siblings. I eventually, moved on to making dinner over the weekends. I absolutely loved it. However, one thing, I did not know was how to shop on a budget because I never needed to know how to shop effectively. My mother purchased the food and when she passed away my grandmother or father would purchase food.
I remember how my grandmother would call us every Sunday and ask “did you remember to save me the Pennysaver?” My sisters and I used to get so annoyed, we would exclaim “why is gramma so obsessed with coupons and grocery deals?!” It was not until my senior year of college and I lived off campus that I started to take food shopping more seriously. It was my first time really having to buy my own food and save my own money.
It was during this time, that I started to be a little more aware of which grocery stores had the best prices and quality of food. In 2009, I graduated from my master’s program and I did not find a job for almost two years. I would babysit and occasionally freelance to make some money. It was during this time that I started to understand the importance of budgeting.
I am not a food expert, or chef, or accountant, but I am someone who enjoys food, cooking, and saving money. This love came from desperation. Having little to no money can be stressful, especially when it is time to eat and you are food insecure. However, the tough times of my life is what allowed me to learn some culinary cheats.
The culinary cheats book series will take you through a culinary journey. This first book is all about the foundations of saving money on food. I will discuss how to make a budget, how to read the circulars, how to know what prices are good prices, and more. I hope that my experience of being food insecure to food secure , will help you understand the various options in food shopping and preparation.
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Budgeting
Chapter 3 – Budget for Food
Chapter 4 – Food
Chapter 5 – Meal Plans
Chapter 6 – Food Shopping
Book Two – The Culinary Cheatsheet (this section should be less text and more short words and visually appealing layout… like a worksheet/cheat sheet)
Tip 1 – Get out of comfort zone (expand blog post I wrote on this)
Tip 2 – Eat foods in season. Foods in season for the different regions of the US
Tip 3 – Follow the USDA guidelines
Tip 4 – Make food ahead
Tip 5 – Pack lunch
Tip 6 – Join a CSA
Tip 7 – Compost
Tip 8 – Garden
Tip 9 – Ask for help (family, food stamps, etc)
Tip 10 – Invest in appliances (blender, processor, juicer, crockpot, food saver, etc)
Tip 11 – Go generic brand
Tip 12 – Compare ounces
Tip 13 – Buy Bulk
Tip 14 – Shop Local
Tip 15 – Check the penny saver
Tip 16 – Sign up for discount cards
Tip 17 – Go to the dollar store
Tip 18 – Stock up
Tip 19 – Fill out surveys
Tip 20 – Make your own Stuff
Tip 21 – Use all parts of the food
Tip 22 – Portion food
Tip 23 – Stop going out to dinner
Tip 24 – Stop drinking juice
Tip 25 – Go Vegetarian
Tip 26 – Stop drinking alcohol
Tip 27 – Go to free events
Tip 30 – Shop as you eat (2x a week)
Tip 31 – Know the shelf life of foods
Tip 32 – Go to thrift stores/garage sales
Tip 33 – Make a grocery list
Tip 34 – Don’t shop while hungry
Tip 35 – Coupon
Tip 36 – Know what is a good deal (breakdown of popular items at the high price and low)
Tip 37 – Meal prep
Tip 38 – Store food so it last longer