Hi, I’m Ellen!
I started Cheap Cooking during a dot.com bust, in 2002 I think, but I started learning how to cook after I quit my job to stay home with my new baby in 1991. I scoured used bookstores and garage sales and libraries for information on how to save money on groceries, among other things. During the dot.com bust, my business went south and I needed to focus on saving money again, this time as a single mom with two young children. I wanted to share what I learned (and still use) so started this web site. There have been boom and bust cycles in my life since I stayed home with my firstborn. Sometimes I eat out a bit more often or feel free to experiment with some unusual ingredients from a new cuisine, but I’m always very conscious of what I’m spending.
But I also enjoy cooking so you’ll find a lot more than beans and rice here. I’m always trying out new recipes, playing with new to me ingredients, exploring new cuisines and exploring new cookbooks. My focus here is on providing recipes that taste good, don’t require expensive equipment or really picky techniques. I want you to have fun while you’re feeding yourself and your family! I remember what it’s like to cook dinner every night while young children need your attention. I got divorced when my girls were quite young so I’ve done the working parent/single parent mealtime dance. My daughters are both grown and out on their own at this point so my cooking has taken another turn, as I get used to cooking for one or two.
WHAT DO YOU DO BESIDES COOK?
I play fiddle, guitar and mandolin (turn of the century Italian music). Some of my other hobbies include archery and I’m learning to fly fish! I went on my first camping trip in many years in 2016 and have been on several since then, including several week-long camping trips. I like to grow food and typically have a vegetable garden going. I also have a good selection of fruit trees and berry bushes, herbs and perennial edibles like artichokes. (And I’m trying to get an asparagus patch going!)
My boyfriend’s teaching me to weld and do wood work, which is quite fun. I’m also learning how to turn wood and have been busy buying used tools off Craigslist. The lathe was just a gateway tool, as I’m learning. You can see some of the fun stuff we make (including kitchenware!) at MarloandEllen.com.
I was a contributor to Digital Dish, The Freshest Writing and Recipes from Food Blogs Around the World and have had articles published on various web sites, including The Dollar Stretcher.
I’d love to hear your comments about the web site so tell me what you liked, what you didn’t, and what you want that you didn’t find.
I do not accept guest posts.
Disclosure: I sell advertising on this site but I don’t sell text links. I don’t accept guest posts. CheapCooking.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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I found your site because I’m cooking dinner for company tonight, and was too lazy to dig out my “More with Less Cookbook” for the apple crisp recipe (tonight’s iteration will be peach/nectarine crisp). I read your bio and find we have several things in common including at least periodic frugality (especially in earlier years while raising kids), real enjoyment in cooking, and I play cello in a folky, non-classical way. I look forward to perusing your site. 🙂
Love your column, every Tuesday I look forward to see what frugal ideas you and your readers have discovered. Just want to share with your readers (referring back to column published on March 31, 2009) when my salad dressing bottles are almost empty I will mix whats left from the bottle with sour cream and use as a topping for baked or mashed potatos or on a variety of steamed vegetables, OR I will mix the salad dressing with cream cheese adding a couple of tbsps of “McCormick Crunchy & Flavorful Salad Toppins” as a fresh vegetable dip. This way you can make a variety of flavorful dips you can’t find on the shelf in your local grocery stores.