Stay Connected

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cheap & Cheerful for the week

pinto bean burger patties
*brown rice cooked in chicken stock with garden herbs
*yellow crookneck squash, sauteed in chicken fat with garlic
*tomato wedges with 1000 Island dressing (leftover tartar sauce combined with ketchup)
*fruit salad of blackberries, bananas and early pears

*rosemary-bean soup, with garden rosemary, beet greens, 2 bunches of shallots, garlic, new potatoes, ham stock (w/ bits of meat). This would have been nicer made with white beans, but pinto beans were what I had.
scratch cornbread, using bacon fat for most of fat in recipe, oil for the rest
*cucumber-dill salad
*blackberry-rhubarb sauce

baked ham (I needed to make room in the freezers, so pulled a ham out to thaw, late last week)
*garden green and waxed beans
*sauteed zucchini and crookneck squash
*tomato wedges
*leftover brown rice, cooked in chicken stock w/ garden herbs
toffee bars (made with half chocolate chips, half butterscotch chips which were on sale)

leftover ham on scratch biscuits (using up whey from straining yogurt, and pureed "skimmings" from making the yogurt)
*pears, apple and blackberries (blackberry picking in the afternoon)
*tossed salad with leafy greens (baby chard leaves, watercress, lettuce), cucumber, and tomatoes
toffee bars

*ham fried rice, with veggies from garden (shallots, carrots, cabbage, zucchini, green beans)
*fresh blackberries
toffee bars

ham and gravy on scratch biscuits
*cole slaw
*fresh pears

*rice and beans, topped with fresh, chopped tomatoes
*cole slaw
*fresh blackberries
toffee bars

*hamburgers on homemade buns, with garden lettuce and tomatoes and homemade dill pickles
*sauteed zucchini and yellow crookneck squash

*garbanzo bean soup, with garden veggies (chard, carrots, shallots, green beans, tomatoes), topped with cracklings from rendering ham fat
homemade French bread with pesto
*blackberries with vanilla yogurt

* indicates part of meal was prepared with fruit or veggies from the garden/orchard or the wild (foraged)

Our kitchen fridge looks rather bare these days, especially the produce drawers. That's because, this time of year, we don't store our produce in the fridge. We store it in the garden!

I realize that keeping a garden isn't possible or desirable for a lot of folks. This is just something that I used to dream about when I was younger, the possibility of growing most of our produce. In actuality, we grow about half of our fruits and vegetables. With a family of five, I feel we would need a much larger yard to devote to growing all of our produce, given that our growing season is limited, and we are surrounded by tall evergreens. We definitely eat what is in season and local -- ha ha!


  1. Your meals are always so varied and sound delicious! I love hearing what is coming from the garden, as I aspire to grow more and more of our produce on our small lot (1/6 of an acre is what I've calculated). Plus it's interesting to see what some of your odd stock-up trips result in meal-wise, lol. Not laughing AT you, just with you as I do much the same with stock-ups. But it's neat to see what other people eat and how you use those items. I am currently reading Tamar Adler's book The Everlasting Meal for inspiration.

    1. Hi cat,
      I need to read something to refresh some of my meal ideas. Some days it just seems like it's more of the same.
      Do you read the Prudent Homemaker? Brandy has worked a lot of produce into her small suburban lot.
      The challenge these days is not so much how to use those odd stock-ups, but how to use what produce we're currently getting in new and unique ways.

      How late into the fall can you harvest veggies? I'm thinking you can grow greens well into fall where you live. Is there anything that will overwinter there, or have a late fall planting to bring you veggies in very early spring? Here, I can overwinter kale very successfully. I've never not had kale come back. And that's nice for a very early garden veggie.

  2. Your menu looks delicious, Lili.

  3. In the future, I would love to expand our vegetable garden. In thinking what other fruit tree to grow next year (other than our languishing pomelo tree, somehow we're not ready to kill it), I suggested a lemon tree to my husband. He quickly shot it down saying we hardly use lemons and the cost of water and fertilizer will negate the savings. He really wants to grow avocado and lychee, which are very expensive fruits in our neck of the woods. Our garden is very sad at the moment, but next year we plan to do more, at least swiss chard and bittermelon which grew very well in the past.

    Of course, the pinto bean burger patties made me smile lol...we still have it for lunch. On our days off, even when we're out shopping, we pack a box lunch of patties, rice and veggies. Very satisfying.

    Another week of inexpensive tasty meals supplemented from your garden. Do you spend a lot on fertilizer and water?


    1. Hi YHF,
      Are there any other citrus that you'd enjoy, like tangerines? For lemons, even though you don't use that many, you could grow a dwarf lemon tree in a pot on your lanai. You'd probably get all the lemon you could use in a year off of a dwarf, and it wouldn't use up garden space.

      The only fertilizer I use is compost. We buy organic compost for the veggie garden. our home-grown compost has too many weed seeds in it so we use that in ornamental gardens. If we were to do a good job with adding compost regularly to the beds, I guess we would spend about $25 per summer on compost. We use rain barrel water for as much as we can, then in mid-summer we use city water, and back to rain water in August, after a good storm. Our rain barrels are both full again, so that's the water we're using for the garden. Our city water bill probably increases by about $10 to $15 for the summer, for the veggie garden only. We also water shrubs and plants that are ornamental. So, maybe an increase of $35 to $40 for extra expenses with the garden. I'm guessing that what we harvest has a dollar value of about $300 or more, as we also have fruit trees.

  4. Could you give us your recipe for pinto bean burgers?

    1. Sure.
      I start with a slice of bread, torn into pieces, and soaked in 1 or 2 eggs, beaten. Then add about 2 to 3 cups of cooked pinto beans, and mash in with a potato masher. the next part is all variable, according to what I feel like. But I typically add about 1/2 to 1 cup of diced onion, 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or garlic powder, 1/2 to teaspoon), plus about 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, any other dried herbs I'm wanting (oregano is a favorite). I mix this all together. If it feels too wet to form patties, I add a few tablespoons of whole wheat flour, or dry oats, to absorb the excess moisture. I often put this together in the morning, then allow to sit in the fridge for the day. When it's time to cook them, I heat oil or saved meat fat (ham fat is yummy) in a skillet and form patties just as I drop them into the pan. Turn over when browned. Transfer cooked patties to a baking sheet. When all are done, I put them in a 325 F degree oven, for about 30 minutes. They firm up in the oven.

      My favorite way to serve these is covered in marinara sauce, and maybe some Parmesan cheese. But they're also good with traditional burger condiments, like mustard, BBQ sauce, ketchup, 1000 Island dressing, and pickles, or topped with cheese.

      Hope you enjoy these!

  5. I see that on Thursday, you were cooking like a Southern girl with biscuits and ham gravy and cole slaw. Sounds yummy. My mother talks about when she was a girl they would have ham gravy on biscuits. And if you were really, really lucky, you'd get an actual piece of ham in it. That was during the Depression when you were glad just to have the fat to make the gravy.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Yes, I was channeling my inner Southern girl. Maybe not truly southern, but my husband lived in Kentucky for several years, growing up. So every once in a while I make something like biscuits and gravy, or another favorite of his, chicken and dumplings.


Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post