Best App For Saving Money? This is My Favorite

Are you looking for the best app for saving money? I love apps that help you save money and the best part is no clipping coupons (I usually forget them, can’t find the right product or they’re not for the brands we use). Also these apps can be used for the same grocery order and many of them help you save on many different types of products, not just food.

This is my favorite money saving app:

Ibotta app

This is my favorite app right now because it has rebates for just about anything. Ibotta gives you money back for shopping. I like it because you can use it for non brand name items like bananas, onions, any brand of milk, ice cream, cereal, and more. They have a lot of stores to choose from, which I like because some apps don’t have a lot of options in Utah. You can combine this with other apps and coupons to save even more.

The offers reset each month and you can usually buy 2 of each item and get a rebate on both (or just buy 1). What you get back accumulates until you reach $10 and then you can either get a gift card for Amazon, Walmart and many other stores. Or you can get it on your Paypal account.

Here’s how Ibotta works:

1. First download the app onto your iPhone or Andriod. It is free. Use code wwrvuyu to join my team. That’s important because your team helps you earn more.

2. Choose the grocery store or category and make a list of what you plan to buy (there are restaurants like Chili’s, clothing like JC Penny, Best Buy and a lot more). Note the expiration dates.

It shows stores near you, which where I live even includes the military commissary! This is what it looks like. Note the top shows some of the rebates available.


3. Look at the offers and see if there are any you are interested in. Then go to the store and purchase the items. Save your receipt.

4. When you get home, it’s time to claim your rebates.

Find the item and complete the task such as watch a very short video (you can turn off the sound), answer a question, etc. Here’s an example of buying bananas at Smith’s. You save 10 cents on any brand, any amount and can redeem it twice.


5. Click redeem. Scan your receipt’s barcode or take a picture of your receipt.

ibotta money saving app

You get bonuses when your friends get rebates so it’s fun if you have a lot of people on your team.

Click “cash out” to redeem your rebates once you reach $10. I’ve done it probably 3x and I have $2.65 in my account. If I tried a little harder I would’ve unlocked an extra $2.

Other Money Saving Apps


SavingStar digital coupon app is one that you can use with Ibotta. When you get $5 in savings, you earn cash on your loyalty card (you have to link them up in the store itself first). To me this app isn’t worth the effort. It doesn’t have a lot of items overall and very few I ever buy. Then it asks me to buy way more than I would. If you have a large family or like to buy in bulk it might be worth your time.

Walmart Savings Catcher

If you shop at Walmart very often you should download the Walmart app and use Savings Catcher. We live close to a smaller Walmart (grocery only), so I use this app regularly.

Select the “Savings Catcher” tab after downloading the Walmart app. Then scan the barcode and enter the date (you have to scroll down on my phone to see the place to enter the date, it’s a little confusing at first). Then click submit. It takes a few days and then tells you if it found a lower price at another store. If it does catch lower prices you get the difference back. You have 7 days to scan a receipt.

Using the app you can download the money to your phone and to redeem you just have the cashier scan the barcode it generates. They can help you if you don’t know how to use it .

Remember that Walmart also price matches to you get whatever sales price you find at other stores in the area. Sometimes Savings Catcher doesn’t catch everything so if you want to really save, you should do both.


Hello Fresh Review: Fresh is Right!

Have you heard of HelloFresh? It’s a new service like Blue Apron or others that mail you everything you need to make dinner. I’ll explain more, so read on for my experience and to get my full Hello Fresh review.

Hello Fresh review

I learned about Hello Fresh in the grocery store. One of the employees at Fresh Market brought up when I was in line. She said she was making incredible dinners with the service. I hadn’t heard of them so I asked more. When I learned you can get a trial subscription for $40 off, I decided to try it.

Note: you can try it too for $40 off (and get me $20 off my next order) by going to and use the code ZY5GH9. Or, for a limited time, get 2 free meals. You would be a fool not to try it out!

How Hello Fresh Works.

1. You sign up.

2. You pick when you want your food delivered. You can pause or change it as needed.  I had 3 days worth of meals delivered every Wednesday.

3. You choose which menu selections you want sent to you.

4. They send you a big box full of everything you need to make your meals. The box is enveloped in a giant insulated plastic bag and has ice packs in it. All of the meat is individually packaged and kept separate from the rest of the ingredients. The ingredients are sectioned into bags that have all you need to make the meal.

5. You unpack and refrigerate the ingredients.

6. Use the instruction book to prepare the recipes, using the ingredients. Most meals take 30-40 minutes from start to finish.

HelloFresh Food

You know how on cooking shows it’s so easy because everything is pre-measured and ready to go? I felt like that using Hello Fresh. There isn’t any waste. No need to buy a whole bag of carrots if you only need two. They send you exactly what you need. This bag had 1 carrot, 1 red pepper, 1 lime, 1 avocado, 2 cloves of garlic, a small bag of sesame seeds and the spices or seasonings in small bags.


Here’s a look inside the box with all of the ice packs. You can reuse them or not, they’re actually pretty nice (and I love how they are branded with the Hello Fresh logo):


The first dish I made was shrimp with peppers and potatoes. Here are the directions. They are full of bright pictures and very easy to follow.

cooking directions

I was short on time so I skipped the potatoes and will make them another time. The poblano peppers were a bit strong so next time I’ll probably use less and cut them up more finely. The orange was so juicy and fresh. The shrimp were large and premium quality. They came in a sauce and were so good that next time I’m using them to make shrimp tacos.

You do have to chop the vegetables but again, everything is portioned out. Here’s my version:

Shrimp dish using Hello Fresh

The next dish I made was Wasabi Grilled Steak and it is my favorite so far. It was so unique and flavorful. The kitchen smelled AMAZING. Stephen came in and wanted to try it. He asked for seconds. I loved how it used avocado to make a sauce for the noodles. I might steal that for experimenting with a recipe another time and use a flat noodle. I love how they have a packet of sesame seeds and I just stuck it into my tupperware with my lunch and sprinkled it on top. It’s good hot or cold. I didn’t put any wasabi in, because it already has a lot of flavor. People in the office are asking about it because it smells so good. Too bad there isn’t enough to share….

Wasabi Grilled Steak

I liked how the soy sauce came in a little plastic fish. You just remove the cap and squeeze it into the pan.



Next I’m making a chicken dish, and the chicken is in the refrigerator. It looks like this:

chicken breast

Overall, I highly recommend you try Hello Fresh. It’s affordable, especially on their trial deal. I paid $90 for A LOT of high quality food for 3 or more meals for 4 people (which means I got double of everything because each recipe is made for 2). Plus, I don’t have to buy ingredients just to try them that I might never use again.  Hello Fresh’s ingredients are incredibly fresh, just like their name says. I would order Hello Fresh just for the ingredients alone! They’re better than I can get at the grocery store.

I love feeling like a chef. I love learning new cooking techniques. I like getting out of a rut with dinner. It’s like they turned my home into a high end restaurant.

Tip: After you order (right now anyway), they’ll let you send a free meal to 3 friends. That’s so generous and I suggest you take advantage of their offer to treat your friends.

If there are any drawbacks to Hello Fresh, it’s probably that so far my meals really aren’t kid-friendly. That’s ok, I just make them something like a cheese taco while we enjoy the gourmet food.

Cost of Hello Fresh

The cost is based on how many people are eating. If you do the basic plan then you get 3 meals in one box that will feed 2 people. The normal price is $69 but if you use the promo code ZY5GH9 you’ll get it for $29 which is a steal, because you can’t even eat out for that price for one meal. Even at the regular price it can be a good deal, depending on your family size, how much you eat and your food budget. It costs less than eating out but more than the type of meal you probably make at home. At regular price that breaks out into $23 per meal, or $11.50 per person. With the deal it’s $9.67 per meal, and $4.88 per person.

Here’s a screenshot, notice where it says, “Have a Promo code?” that’s where you click the + sign and put in ZY5GH9 to save $40. I’m not sure how long they will offer this so don’t wait.


Since I’m always trying to eat more real foods and less processed, and that I like trying out different flavors, it’s worth it. I would compare the food to shopping at a high end grocery store where you’d pay more.

If you go on vacation or have other plans, you can go into your account to pause your delivery. You can also change the day it’s delivered. A few days before your order you’ll get to choose your selections from a few options. They also have a vegetarian box.

That’s my Hello Fresh review. If you sign up, let me know what you think. Also, when you sign up wait for the email that lets you invite up to 3 friends to get a free meal. 

Don’t forget to use the special code to save $40 off your first order. Go to and use code ZY5GH9.

Or, click this ad to get 2 meals FREE (limited time)!!!


Key Lime Pie in a Cup Recipe

My friend Sydney from Tastefully Frugal posted this recipe on the Blentec blog for Key Lime Pie in a Cup. No cooking required and super quick to make. It’s so delicious I don’t want to forget about it – I want to make it again and again. Like my friend said, “I could eat about 5 of these.” Unfortunately, we ate them all before I got to take a picture. Yeah, they were that good. I made them for my book club, the Book Babes.

These only take about 10 minutes to assemble and they’re forgiving…so feel free to experiment. Keep reading and you’ll know what I mean. Limes were expensive and I didn’t have a lot of time so I bought two limes for the zest and for the rest of the lime juice was from lime concentrate. The original recipe calls for sour cream but somehow I missed that. I didn’t have time to go to the store so I used almost a half cup of vanilla yogurt that I had on hand. I liked it so much that I’m not sure I’d make it any other way.

This is the lime juice I used – it was in the produce section by the real limes or Amazon. Key lime or regular limes work, I used regular limes.

I get a lot of ingredients or products that are hard to find at Amazon. Remember how I buy waffle mix that we love by the case? They have lime juice from concentrate. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated until it’s opened so it’s great to have on hand to whip up a quick dessert when you have guests.

pompeii lime juice

Here’s the yogurt I used, which I got from Good Earth Natural Foods on Riverdale Road in Ogden. It’s actually Kefir which is like yogurt – I found it on Amazon but it’s not vanilla flavor, so you could just add some.

Latta keffir yogurt

I used these cups from Solo:


I recommend that you double the recipe and fill the cups fuller so you have 8. Believe me, you’ll eat them.

Key Lime Pie in a Cup Recipe

Graham Cracker Crust:

6 whole graham crackers, break them into smaller pieces
4 tbsp butter, melted
½ tbsp brown sugar

Place graham crackers in blender until crumbs are formed. Add butter, and brown sugar and blend until combined. Place in bottom of cups, about 2 Tablespoons per cup.

Pie Filling:

Juice from 5 limes (about ½ cup—regular limes or key limes, I used regular limes plus lime juice concentrate)
½ cup vanilla yogurt (I actually used Kefir)
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
lime zest

Blend until a thick pudding-like texture is formed. Pour on top of graham cracker crust and let chill in fridge for 30–60 minutes.

Whipped Cream (by Blendtec):

1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Blend in a blender or use a mixer. Beat until stiffness you prefer.

Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Add whipping cream, garnish with lime zest. I use a plane zester like this one to add the zest.

You can make variations including Strawberry Cheesecake and make my lighter version (I’d slice strawberries and make it lower sugar). It’s easier than cheesecake or strawberry shortcake. I think you could make a banana cream or a lemon cream version too. Also, if you have a crowd you could make this recipe in a casserole or pie pan.

Check out the Tastefully Frugal blog for more of her delicious recipes.


Christmas Light Installation 20% off with TaskEASY

Christmas lights installatoin

Looking for Christmas lights installation? TaskEASY really does make it easy!

Christmas came earlier than ever this year and it all started with Christmas light installation! At the bottom of this post you will get a code for 20% off professional light installation for your home. Actually, my Christmas started with coming home to find this on my front porch:


It’s a gift basket full of the most amazing candy from C. Kay Cummings Chocolate in Salt Lake City. Sorry Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, I’m getting my caramel apples there from now on! So delicious, such high quality. This would make a beautiful gift for family or your business contacts! This made a great first impression on me.

Christmas lights installation
is a new Utah company that makes it simple for homeowners to get Christmas lights professionally installed! It’s super easy. You go to their website, choose from all the options and then schedule and pay for everything online. They email you a reminder (you don’t need to be home), show up at your house and then when you’re ready you schedule them to come and take down your lights.

You can choose from white or green wire color and the color of bulbs you want (we went with a green/white/red combo). They did the front of our house and both sides. After the Christmas season they come and take your lights down and they are yours to keep. You can store them until next year when you can schedule them to come and hang them again. Since they just started this service, they are offering great prices on subscriptions. They are in 9 markets in the US, including Utah, and they are expanding.

To start, create an account and then select a task:


Here are some options that you have. Then you choose the type of home you have and the approx. square footage. I clicked to show the different options that are available.


Then you choose the lighting options and colors:

lighting-options lighting-colors

At this point you see the price and can pay for your order. Then you schedule it. They will send you a photo of your home and confirmation when the task is complete.

Here’s our house – the lights in the photo above are the actual lights they installed:


Disclosure: TaskEASY provided the holiday light installation and gift basket to me in exchange for some publicity for their new service. 

TaskEASY has given me a great deal for my readers! You can take the stress out of the holidays, not risk falling off your roof, AND have the best-looking lights in the neighborhood. All for 20% off! Just use code UWGZD2 when you check out. 


Pressure Cooker Soup Recipes

Now that it’s soup weather I decided I couldn’t wait until Christmas to get my pressure cooker. I bought a 6qt pressure cooker I got on Amazon (affiliate link). It’s just the right size for our small family. I would double the recipes if you have a larger family. We have 4 people and they don’t eat a lot, so it’s just about right for us.

Here’s what mine looks like:

6 qt pressure cooker

This pressure cooker doubles as a rice cooker and slow cooker.

I like that you can brown meat or vegetables in it and it won’t make a mess because the pan is so deep that it won’t splatter everywhere. That’s important to me because I hate cleaning up when grease splatters on my stove! I love that you can put fresh or frozen ingredients in. My plan is to slice and freeze a lot of carrots, celery and onion. Those take the most time to chop and prep.

This all started when I had too many tomatoes, borrowed my mother-in-law’s pressure cooker, made fresh tomato soup, and got hooked. I had to have my own!

This is what I made in my new pressure cooker last night: Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup with a recipe from FoodieCrush. It’s really yummy, it just needs some more kick (I’ll add some hot pepper from the garden). You can make it in a pressure cooker or a slow cooker (crock pot). Next time I’m going to do the pressure cooker method because I don’t like to have to time things out. I was going to be home anyway but it’s a lot easier to just get it done fast.

Doesn’t it look yummy?

Source: Foodie Crush blog

Source: Foodie Crush blog

 You can click for the recipe, but here’s what you need:

Ingredients Needed
Crock pot or pressure cooker that has a “slow cooker” setting.
Red curry paste – you can find it at Smith’s in Farmington in the Asian cooking aisle or on Amazon with my link
coconut milk – I get mine at Trader Joe’s in Salt Lake, the light version
chicken stock – my favorite kind by far (link goes to Amazon – they have a fish version too). I have seen it at Costco, but I perfer to order it with Amazon Prime so it’s delivered right to my door.
fish sauce
brown sugar
peanut butter – I like fresh ground at a health food store or Smith’s
chicken breasts
red bell pepper
fresh ginger – mince all of it and freeze any leftovers.
frozen peas
lime juice – if you don’t have fresh limes on hand, I love True Lime powered lime
cooked white rice (optional)

My next recipe is for Minestrone soup. I like to make it the day before because the flavors meld together better with some time. I got it out of a pressure cooker cookbook called, Great Food Fast that I bought with my pressure cooker.

pressure cooker cookbook


Pressure Cooker Minestrone Soup 

2 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 zucchini, cut into thick half moons (I omitted this because I didn’t have any on hand)
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
4 cups vegetable stock or broth (I used chicken broth, linked to above)
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, with liquid (I used fresh tomatoes I had from my garden, seeded)
3/4 cup shell-shaped pasta (I used macaroni)
3 T tomato paste (I freeze what is left for next time)
2 bay leaves
1 T Italian seasoning (or to taste – I added more)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
garlic salt to taste (not in original recipe, you could also use fresh garlic and cook it with the vegetables)
1 14.5 oz can kidney beans (could use white beans instead), drained and rinsed

Heat oil in the pressure cooker, set to high (or brown on mine) until sizzling.

Add onion and saute until lightly caramelized, about 5 mins.

Add carrots and celery and saute for 1 minute.

Add everything else except the kidney beans. Securely lock the pressure cooker lid and set for 6 minutes on high.

Quick release the pressure. Stir in beans. Remove the bay leaves. I added some fresh Parmesan cheese before serving.


Minestrone soup – fast – in a pressure cooker!


Review of Eva’s Bakery Restaurant Salt Lake City Utah

I was invited along with other Utah bloggers and influencers, to try out Eva’s Bakery, a restaurant in Salt Lake City Utah. We went to try out their new dinner menu and truthfully discovered a hidden gem. It’s romantic, the food is incredible and it feels like you went to Paris!

First, the details:
Eva’s Bakery
OPEN for dinner
Mention hashtag Evas4Dinner to get 20% off dinner from now until Thanksgiving 2014.

Even their website is charming:


Here is Stephen standing in front:
Here’s a shot of the inside:



And now for the FOOD! I had the roasted duck chowder and it was rich, creamy, filling full of diced vegetables and it was just the perfect fall soup. Hearty and with the sourdough bread it was as close to San Francisco as you’re ever going to get in Utah.

I got Mary’s Organic Pecan-Crusted Chicken for my main course. The roasted vegetables and beets were stand outs. Slightly caramelized and so robust. My chicken was cooked great. The only part I didn’t think it needed was the sauce. It had so much flavor already – but the sauce was on the perimeter, not on the entire dish (which I liked).

The molten chocolate cake was sinful, rich and had a brownie-like texture. I have to recommend that you do not skip dessert! Everything at Eva’s is made with as much local and in-season ingredients as possible. I loved how unique and flavorful everything was – there was nothing that tasted like something I’ve eaten other places. Then add the atmosphere that seemed like Paris and you have a great date night.



So if you’re in Salt Lake, near Main Street, you should visit Paris, wait, I mean Evasbakery – it’s so charming. Add some romance, eat slow, and be sure not to skip the sourdough! Get a loaf to take home (french toast, anyone?).

Have you been to Eva’s Bakery in Salt Lake City? I highly recommend it!


Download your Free Holiday Coupon Book from Utah Bloggers

Want a free holiday coupon book? This is a book of Free Must-Have Coupons for the Hottest Holiday Deals! It was created by Utah Bloggers (even our own Jamie Bare) for the 2014 Holiday Season!

A group of Utah bloggers have a great deal for you! They created a digital coupon book, filled with lots of exclusive coupons from your favorite online shops for your holiday shopping!!!

There are both Utah companies and national ones…and best of all, the coupon book is free! All coupons are valid until right before Christmas, so if you’re not ready to start your holiday shopping, you can still use them when you are ready.

All you have to do is enter your email below and you’ll get your copy!

Holiday Hot List Coupons are from the following retailers (both national and Utah): Get Away Today, Lollipics, GroopDealz, Blendtec, Ruby Blue, Raise, Cherishables, Ghiradelli, Build a Sign, Sassy Steals, My Sisters Tee, OverstockDeals, Piper Street, Silhouette, Little Acorns, Linenspa, DownEast Basics, Melissa and Doug, Easy Canvas Prints,, Our World Boutique, Kiwi Crate, World Market, Indie Gift Box, Cents of Style, CreativeBug, Babylit, Manhattanite, Sweet Tooth Fairy, Charmed Collection.

Check it out!

holiday coupon book

Holiday coupon book from Utah Bloggers


Book Review: Guy Stuff in the Scriptures

I was given a copy of the book, “Guy Stuff in the Scriptures – Big Boats, Killer Weapons, Vile Villains, Quirky Verses, Manly Meals and More.” It was written by Mike Winder, who you may recognize as the former mayor of West Valley City (in Utah). Mike has always loved the scriptures but he’s talking about them in new way. He wants you to have FUN with them!

Guy Stuff in the ScripturesThere are a lot of facts about construction, transportation, tools, war, and machines in the book, along with scriptural references. My favorite part are the funny verses. Example: Exodus 22:18 that says: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

I laughed to myself when I read this verse a few Sundays ago in Amos 3:15: And I will strike the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, says the LORD.  Our home is an Ivory Home and I hope it doesn’t perish!

What book for guys would leave out women? There an entire chapter called, Beauties of the Bible. He names the top 10 with (sorry, spoiler) Queen Esther taking first place.

There is also all sorts of trivia, such as:
Who was the youngest person to be ordained to the priesthood?
What person in the scriptures took the longest journey?
Who was the richest man in the Bible?

“As we find new ways to look at the scriptures—including fun ways—we will become more familiar with them, less intimidated by them, and naturally drawn to their pages again and again. Wading through the standard works should not be just a chore,” Winder said.

There is Biblical food, Bible superheroes, and more – all with scriptural references.  The best part of the book to me, is it’s perfect for the ADD mind. The chapters are short. Every paragraph has headers and subheads. It’s broken up in snackable pieces so it’s super easy to skim and read. Reading Guy Stuff in the Scriptures will make you curious and it will give you a sense of awe. Most of all it will make the scriptures feel more real to you. Hopefully it will make you want to read them more. I think that’s worth the price!

If you have a teenage boy or husband that you need a gift for, I recommend this book. I think it would even make a great baptism gift for a boy. Oh, and even though I’m not a guy, I thought it was fun and interesting. It would be great for a Family Home Evening or even a game of Trivial Pursuit.


Best Belgian Waffle Mix and Where to Buy It

Our family’s favorite product on Amazon is Belgian Waffle Mix and it’s the best ever! It really is the best Belgian Waffle Mix! We order it by the case we love it so much. Our family goes through 6 boxes in about 4 months. It’s really hard to find in stores (I’ve asked) so we have to buy it in bulk. We’ve tried buying it directly from the company but you have to send a check, wait for it to clear and then they send it. Buying in on Amazon, by the case, is the easiest way to buy it and the best deal.

best Belgian Waffle Mix

Click to see the Best Belgian Waffle Mix

They also have blueberry but I’ve been afraid to stray from my favorite. If you try another variety, let me know what you think. Maybe we will branch out.

We make ours in a Belgian waffle maker but you could probably make it in any waffle maker. We have also used the recipe on the box to make crepes and they are amazing too. They have a light texture and a nice vanilla flavor, plus it’s easy to make and quick. You just add warm water, some butter and an egg.

If you give a gift of a waffle iron, be sure to also give them at least one box of this waffle mix. I know it’s not pretty, but I PROMISE it is the best! We make it most Saturday mornings. We’ve even given it as a Christmas present to our neighbors, and once they try it they love us.

Here’s the one we buy (it has 5 stars on Amazon). Try it. I’m confident your family will get hooked too!

Classique Belgian Waffle Mix, 16-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)


Fresh Tomato Soup Recipe with Heirloom Tomatoes

fresh tomato soup recipe

If you have a garden, you are probably swimming in tomatoes right now. This year I grew many different varieties of tomatoes, from heirloom to plum (roma) to beefsteaks. I’ve eaten them with fresh basil, drizzled with balsamic and in salads. A few weeks ago I made a Tomato Parmesan Soup recipe I found on Pinterest. It was so easy but I left the skin on and did not remove the seeds. It was still delicious but I’ve since learned it’s worth the extra work to make the soup smooth.

I found this cookbook, The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table: Recipes, Portraits, and History of the World’s Most Beautiful Fruit. It’s gorgeous and the recipes are unique – I want to try more of them. It’s a coffee table kind of cookbook but it’s also like a text about tomatoes. This recipe takes some time to make but I love the addition of carrots and it’s gorgeous deep orange color. It tastes like fall feels. If you’ve had canned tomato soup of any kind, this will amaze you. Great for serving company.

Heirloom Tomato Cookbook

This recipe is called Cream of Tomato Soup in the cookbook but I’ve added a few notes and some fresh basil.

4 Tablespoons butter
1 Cup Sliced Onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 Tablespoons minced garlic

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock, at room temperature
1 bay leaf
4 cups peeled, chopped, seeded and chopped tomatoes (any kind, could even use fresh)
1 Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
2 cups heavy cream (or half & half)

Fresh basil leaves, about 4 (depending on taste)

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan over moderate heat. Add the onions and carrots. Cover and cook until both are tender. Add the garlic and cook a minute or two. Add the flour and stir until the mixture is light brown.

Whisk in the stock. Add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 20 minutes.

While soup simmers, cut the top off the tomatoes and gently squeeze the seeds out. Prepare a pan of boiling water and drop the whole tomatoes into the water until the skins come off easily. Roughly chop the tomatoes and after the 20 mins, add to the soup, along with the salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf and add the basil. Cook for 10 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.

Puree in a blender or use a stick blender (it’s a lot easier with a stick blender). Turn off the heat and add the cream so it does not curdle.

Serve with cheese sandwiches or a hearty salad. Enjoy how you feel like a gourmet cook.

Next I want to try the Steak, Tomato, and Onion Sandwich. It has ribeye steak that you marinate and serve on a baguette.