Happy 6th Birthday, PGEW.com!

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Six years old.

PGEW is SIX!!! Can you believe it? Technically it turned six a couple weeks ago, but there has been a lot going on behind the scenes that will be revealed soon enough, which pushed back the celebration. Monday was my own birthday (38rageous, baby!), and had it not been for the Napa earthquake setting back my schedule, we would have celebrated together. The good news is that I was able to get back home safely, and now I’m back at my desk to share the birthday love.

It seems like just yesterday I was posting random concoctions on the dark blue Blogspot blog, in response to coworkers and friends asking me how I ate so much better than they did when they knew I was having money problems. That’s all I ever thought it would be, really; I never expected to have a big audience outside a few of my friends and maybe my mom.

Six years later, here we are with close to 400 original recipes, a ton of money-saving tips, and a whole bunch of real talk about what its like to struggle through financial and health related issues. These are issues that affect so many more than even I imagined; it makes me quite glad to know that sharing my own struggles (and occasional solutions) have helped others feel less alone and unsupported.

The past couple of years have been extraordinarily difficult for me, and sadly, my baby blog did suffer as a result. But neither one of us – the blog or yours truly – was completely unrescuable. After doing a ton of my own rescuing, I’m happy to be back in the blogger saddle, as I juggle the new job, new projects, and the full-time job that is taking care of my health and playing catch up on bills (which takes soooo much longer when you only work part-time). I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be able to think a bit more clearly, so that the dishes I prepare can actually be shared with you all, the photos can be taken, and the pure joy of producing can be experienced again. I don’t know if “blogger high” is actually a thing, but if it is, I love having it again.

As usual for the blog’s birthday, I like to take a walk down memory lane, revisiting some of my favorite posts and recipes from each year. This year, rather than doing my usual “greatest hits”, I thought I’d shine some light on some of the lesser known recipes as well. They’re not as popular not because they’re not good, but because I haven’t shared them as much as others. Today, that’s going to change. Sure, some of the “hits” will be in there, but for the most part, I’m excited to share some of these with you, especially all the newer readers who have joined the PGEW family.

Now, a couple of these might not have a photo, but I’m working to fix that right away. As many of you know, I’ve had to work on a lot of reposting of old articles and pictures, as they were removed by someone who used to help with the design of the blog before he was removed from my life. It’s been a long process to get as many of these photos back on their respective posts, and not everything has been updated because some photos are sadly still on the old laptop that died in January. Never fear, though! The important part is the recipe, and all recipes are available on my Pinterest page, so you’ll be able to see what each dish looks like there. The slideshow above will also give you an idea of the drool-worthiness in this post. ; )

Okay, enough babbling! Let’s get this party started!

2008

My very first recipe on PGEW
Sick Person Soup

That one recipe that showed up on CNN.com and put PGEW in the spotlight…
Brown Rice, Lentil & Feta Salad

One of the best tips to get you started if you’re a newbie to PGEW and eating ridiculously well on a minuscule budget…
Tip #3: Find Your Bare Bones Staples 

That one time I showed that even rice and beans (or farro and beans) can be quite sexy if you care enough…
Farro & Red Beans with Caramelized Onions 

The first time I threw together the most random ingredients I had left in my kitchen and ended up with bliss in a bowl…
Black Bean, Chicken & Mango Stew

Getting into my groove, showing readers eating healthful, tasty comfort food doesn’t have to break the bank…
The Easiest 3-Bean Chili EVER

2009

One of my favorite tips, and one of the keys to being able to eat PGEW style…
Tip #5: Do It Yourself

An oft’ forgotten soup that should really go back into regular rotation at my house. So, so, SO good!
Leek & Cannellini Bean Soup with Cous Cous

Part of my Let’s Make Pork Loin Super Sexy phase…
Spinach, Red Pepper & Feta Stuffed Pork over Herbed Cous Cous

A good reminder to keep making things with toasted cumin, because OMG…
Toasted Cumin Chicken with Broccoli & Curried Cashews

That one time I accidentally made pink pasta and it still tasted fabulous…
Rainbow Chard & Roasted Beet Fettuccine

Because deprivation never did anyone any good…
Tip #7: Need What You Buy, But Allow Yourself A Splurge Or Two

2010

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Holy yum!
Honey Glazed Roots & Sprouts w/Pan-fried Garlic

That one time a 10-second shot of a sandwich in a movie made me run to my kitchen to make my very own…
The “Spanglish” Sandwich

One of my favorite breakfast-for-dinner recipes, for sure!
Mushroom Fajita Omelette

That one time I had to go on food stamps and had no idea what to expect…
PGEW on SNAP, Part I

Probably the closest I’ve gotten to actual tips on how I make the most of my farmers’ market runs. I should bump this one more often because there are some great tips in here…
I <3 the Farmers’ Market – How to Shop & Enjoy the Best Produce Your Region Can Offer

That one time I made a 14″ pupusa that was also a pizza. From scratch (oh, the things you’ll do for blogging contests!)
Pu-pizza! 

2011

Because there’s really no reason to spend so much on lunch everyday…
Tip #11: Brown Bag It

Unwrapping the breakfast burrito to make it a bit more filling-centric rather than all about the tortilla…
Breakfast Burrito Pizza

Sometimes I can get into a real baking mood. Summer stone fruit is such a magnificent muse…
Plum & Nectarine Crumble

Addressing one of the biggest obstacles to eating your fruits and veggies on a regular basis…
Tip #15: Be Kind to Your Produce and It Will Be Kind to You

Shopping from your cupboards can end with delicious results…
Creamy Brown Rice, Broccoli & Apple Salad

Because one thing is having all the right ingredients; it’s another to have the right tools to turn that food into great meals…
Tip #14: Stock Your Kitchen Without Emptying Your Wallet

2012

Because poached eggs are awesome (and my goodness, I look so different now!)…
Video: How to Make Poached Eggs

That one time I opened up about what living with my particular illness is really like…
Living with PHN (and my other 7.2 million maladies)

Because pizza…
Mixed Mushroom & Leek Pizza

Proving that comfort food doesn’t always have to be a rich, buttery affair…
Skin-ny Scallion Mashed Potatoes

That OTHER time I had to go on food stamps, but this time there was a fresh new twist to make it healthier…
PGEW on SNAP: Back In the Saddle, But This Time I’m headed To the Farmers’ Market 

That one time I accidentally shot my own Carl’s Jr. commercial (well, kinda)…
Double Mushroom Burger

2013

Cookies can be somewhat healthy, right? (HINT: Yes.)
Cranberry-Pistachio Oatmeal-Quinoa Cookies

Because meatless sandwiches are just as sexy as their meaty counterparts…
Chipotle Mushroom Sub Sandwich with Chunky Pico de Gallo

That one time I listened to my readers to make a tasty recipe even better…
Shrimp with Warm Pineapple-Pepper Relish

Sometimes all you have to do is listen, and summertime tells you what to make for dinner…
Cucumber-Peach Salad with Basil-Mint Vinaigrette

Taking a different approach towards pancakes for dinner…
Masa Harina Corn Pancakes with Eggs & Tomatoes

That one time I had to stop and remind myself of this. Because it’s 100% true…
Little things really can make the bad days better

2014

That one time I was featured as a guest chef in Latina Magazine (this is just one of four great recipes from that piece!)…
Paella Flatbread Pizza

Another lightened-up version of a comforting classic…
Veggie & Pesto Quinoa-Stuffed Zucchini

Taking the $25 Shopping Cart to a whole new level…
$25 Shopping Cart v. 18.0 – Extreme Edition

These are just downright GOOD.
Cashew & Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Because I know he’d be proud of my progress. And that I put this one on the blog…
My Dad’s Summer Harvest Salad

Taking back control. Of everything…
Turning Point

*  *  *  *  *

It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it? Sometimes I still can’t believe I’ve created all of this, and it’s exciting to think of what else I’ll add in years to come. As always, I want to thank my extremely loyal readers who have stuck with me through thick an thin these past six years. And to the newer members of the PGEW family too, as they help me view these past six years of work with new, more appreciative eyes.

I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life and in the journey that is PGEW and my latest project. Even after nearly 400 recipes, I still have more to share! Can’t wait to bring those and new tips and ideas on how to stretch your food dollar to all of you in the next few months.

Happy 6th Birthday to you, my dearest baby blog!

written by

singer. writer. artist. champagne taste, 2 buck chuck budget. good cook. kooky. chocoholic. patron saint of cats. talker. listener. thinker. sometimes to a fault.

3 Responses to "Happy 6th Birthday, PGEW.com!"

  1. DC says:

    Happy birthday, blog+blogger! I love the recipe redux with photos–it’s like the really long menu where you get to order EVERYTHING. Many happy returns!

    Reply
  2. Kimberly says:

    Happy 6th Birthday to your blog! I hope the next 6 years are much kinder and more prosperous for you! Keep the posts coming!

    Reply
  3. sp says:

    Happy Belated Birthday to your blog and a Happy Belated Birthday to you!!!! You are such and inspiring blogger! Please keep it up. I am glad things are looking up for you because we want to hear more and try more delicious recipes.

    –thesloppyperfectionist.blogspot.com

    Reply

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