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Friday, April 29, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers-- another birthday in the week

rhubarb-blackberry gelatin (chilling in the shallow baker shortens it's set-time)
Wednesday, I woke up with the beginnings of a migraine. It only increased as the day wore on. Ugh. As a result, I got very little done that day and the next. No blogging for me. My apologies. But check back over the weekend, if you're online. I may have an extra post for you (that just wasn't ready to hit publish on Thursday morning). I hope you had a great week!

Here's our Cheap & Cheerful menu for this past week:

Friday (my husband's birthday with a family celebration at home)

Cod cakes (remember when I asked for ideas to use some frozen cod?)
Homemade sweet potato shoestring fries
Celery sticks
Lemon Meringue pie


Homemade olive and mushroom pizza
Apple wedges
Carrot and celery sticks
Leftover pie


Minestrone soup
Yorkshire pudding


Scratch macaroni and cheese
Leftover minestrone soup
Rhubarb-blackberry jello


Corn souffle (using this recipe) (with the last of the ham cracklings as the add-in)
Leftover rhubarb-blackberry jello
Frozen spinach-garlic-canned tomato-celery top gratin


Corn bread waffles
Turkey bacon
Spinach frittata topped with cheddar
Pumpkin souffle


Tortilla chips (made from corn tortillas)
Guacamole (using those 59-cent avocados from the ethnic market)
Homemade salsa
Refried beans, brown rice and cheese
Apple wedges
Tossed green salad (yep! from the garden!)

My husband's birthday was one week ago. He does like fish. And I hardly ever cook fish, as I really don't relish eating it. But for his birthday and Father's Day, I do make fish as a special favor to him. (aren't I swell?!)

For the fishcakes, I found a recipe online that used potatoes with the flaked fish. I had a hunch I would enjoy those more than cakes that use bread crumbs. So, that's the recipe that I worked from. My fishcakes also had eggs, onion powder, minced chives, mustard, salt and pepper mixed in with poached cod fillets and mashed potatoes.

I didn't feel like it was a very imaginative week for meals. A lot of celery sticks and apple wedges for fruit/veggies. But it all worked out. Everyone had plenty to eat, and somewhat balanced meals. Bonus -- eating simply kept my grocery spending under budget, once again. I'll post my spending recap for April, on Monday. (The month's not over yet. I could go hog-wild and spend, spend, spend tomorrow!)

Did you make anything that wasn't something you regularly like to eat, this week? Is it ever difficult balancing some family members's favorite foods with your own dislike for them?

Have a great weekend!


  1. Hope you feel better quickly!

  2. Boo migraine. How miserable. Feel better.

    It's a joke in our family that when I work on a Saturday, it's fried fish for lunch for the rest of our family. I like it grilled but not pan-fried.

    No exciting meals here this past week. We had miserable weather yesterday so I made potato soup and tried my hand at rye bread. Rye flour was on sale so I bought some. The bread didn't rise much--it was half rye flour, half bread flour--any thoughts? I expected it to be dense in texture, but not THAT dense.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I do have a good rye bread recipe. It's one I haven't made in a while, but the last time I went to WinCo I did buy rye flour to make it again. I'll post the results when I get to it. As far as too dense, there are a few things that do that to my bread -- the room too cool, water for yeast too hot or too cool, under-kneading, too wet of a dough, not enough gluten, or the gluten is struggling due to low-acidity. For fixes -- the obvious fixes with room and water temp, but my guess (and what commonly happens with attempts at rye bread) is you need to do something to acidify the dough -- use a sourdough starter, or add a spoonful of cider vinegar. Or, increase your gluten by adding 1 tablespoon of wheat gluten. I still haven't pulled out my recipe, but I'm pretty sure it uses an overnight sourdough. You don't need to buy a starter for this, you do a yeast, flour, water sponge, then let sit for a day/overnight. The gluten in rye flour needs the extra boost of acid that a sourdough will give to strengthen its structure.
      This is a good recipe and I'll post it when I make my own bread. I had been wanting a change from my usual whole wheat dough, and picked up this rye flour. So maybe I'll get to that this weekend.
      I'm sorry your bread turned out so dense. Can you slice and toast it?
      Have a great weekend, Kris!

    2. I Googled possible problems and the suggestion was to add vital wheat gluten. Acidity wasn't mentioned and you may have hit the nail on the head with that thought. I used a warmed oven and warm water as I would with an all-wheat bread dough, so I'd be surprised if that was this issue. Thanks for the ideas!

      My family seems to enjoy eating the bread as-is. Gotta love non-picky eaters.

    3. Hi Kris,
      I got my recipe out, and yes, it does have a long-sponge period of about 24 hours, developing a sourdough. I'll post the full recipe. If you still have rye flour left, I think this method would "fix" the denseness.
      Yeah, the acidity thing is one of those rarely mentioned issues, but really key to making a good rye bread, I think. A little bit of acid helps strengthen the strands/bonds in the dough to hold its loft.

      I know what you mean. I am so thankful my family is not picky. It's made cooking so much easier, knowing they will eat just about anything I fix.

    4. Kris, I just set my rye, water and yeast to work until tomorrow morning. It's in the oven with the light on, for low heat. This is a sourdough rye bread.
      I also have a recipe for Swedish rye bread. (Have I mentioned I'm part Swedish?)That one calls for molasses, which is naturally acid, and orange peel. It's a sweeter bread than the sourdough rye. I'll type up both recipes, as I like them both.
      The sourdough rye recipe sounds like it's more labor intensive. It isn't really. There are just more steps. Bakers who tend to specialize in sourdough rye just keep a rye starter going at all times, so they don't have to keep repeating the first overnight step.
      I'll take a photo when this loaf is baked.

  3. Too bad about the headache...those things can really bring a person down. My daughter is terrible at balancing her finances so I did it for her last night. It took hours and gave me a very bad sore throat. I slept well and the sore throat is gone this morning but stress can surely do things to a body!

    Our meals have been simple and I can't even remember what they all were! Chicken rollups, chicken soup, pork stir fry, leftovers and more but I can't remember. The refrigerator is almost empty and the carpets are getting cleaning today so I think we are going out. Besides, hubby has wanted a "smash burger" since before his surgery and then afterwards it was supposed to be a get-well reward AND I COMPLETELY FORGOT! I think tonight he gets his Smash Burger (whatever that is).

    We are then going to look for some new living room furniture. We have a couch/loveseat duo and both of them have recliners that give off graphite from the rubbing of the mechanisms and they stain all the carpets! I have an old rocker/swivel that does the same thing. We don't really have the money for new stuff but getting graphite out of the carpets is so very difficult.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Thank you so much for sharing about your stress induced sore throat. I thought I was nuts, that I was the only person this happened to. I also will get those sore throats, as well as migraines, after bouts of stress. I'm glad your sore throat is gone now.

      You'll have to come back and tell me what a smashburger is. I've never heard of that! Have fun looking at furniture! And how nice to have clean carpets. I have that on my to-do list for this spring.

      Have a great weekend, Alice!

    2. OK, smashburger is a line of fast food. We had a coupon but it expired and it was for a different location so we couldn't use it. The clerk asked us about the coupon and I told him it was expired and he gave us a discount anyway. It is a fast food place. My stomach knew it because as with all fast food my stomach does a lurch about halfway through lunch and I need to run to the bathroom. If you haven't guessed it I get diarrhea from eating fast food. It was good but not good for me. I'm done eating for the day to let my stomach rest.


    3. My husband loves smash burger. He usually goes by himself when I'm out for the evening.

    4. Alice, I'm so sorry this happened to you. Fast food can hit my stomach hard, too. For me, I think it's just too greasy at some places. I hope you're feeling better, now. Take care of yourself.

  4. Hi Lili,
    Sorry to hear about the migraine, hopefully you are feeling better soon!
    I made hubby some sausage with seasonings that I do not like this week. It was a wine & cheese sausage & to me it just smells nasty. He loves it, so when I make it I usually get a large pack so he has leftovers & I make myself something else.
    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Thank you.
      That's what I should do, I guess, just make myself something else. It's hard for me to even cook fish, if the fish is fishy enough (like canned salmon). I think you have a good approach, to make extras, so your husband can get his fix, and you can get it over with. Then not have to smell it again for a while.

      Have a great weekend, Rhonda!

  5. Glad you are feeling better today. It's not like you to miss a day of weekday posting, so a big question when it happens.

    I don't know why I lost two previous comments when I hit the "publish" button on my laptop, so I'm trying now with my kindle fire. Yesterday, I changed the "options" settings on my laptop to minimize pop ups and cookies, so that might have caused the comment to disappear into cyberspace.

    Your gelatin and cornbread waffle dinner looks so very yummy.

    Take care and have a restful weekend!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      Thank you. I'm not putting pressure on myself to get a whole lot done this weekend. And I'm trying to sleep more regular hours again. Stress and poor sleep are big triggers for me.

      The cornbread waffles were a huge hit. The next day, I had one used in place of bread for a toasted cheese sandwich. Pretty good.

      Enjoy your weekend, YHF!

  6. I can relate all too well to your migraine. I have about one a week and they can really wipe you out. Do you take anything for it? I have medicine that helps it from going too far that I've learned to take before it has reached a horrible stage. I used to try to hold out to see if I could get by without, but I'm not a hero/martyr any more.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      In my quest to find out more about preventing some of the symptoms I get, I found that tryptophan is supposed to be helpful. I don't know if you've heard that before, concerning migraines. I get cluster migraines, a batch of one right after another, for about 3 or 4 weeks, then nothing for a couple of months. I'm sorry you're getting one every week. That must be a constant feeling of exhaustion. I've learned that, too, to take something right away. When I think I'll just wait to see if it gets bad, most of the time it does, so there's no point in waiting to take something. I wonder what made us ever think we could just "tough it out". I mean, that just sounds ridiculous, considering how debilitated migraines can leave a person.

      Hope you're having a great weekend, live and learn!

  7. Hi Lili and Live & Learn

    I too get stress induced migraine, and try to tough it out as I hate the way tryptophan makes me feel. I have found tennis balls and tumble drier balls (the nobby ones) really helpful...
    I'm not mad honestly. When stressed we hold tension in our shoulders. We unconsciously hold them higher, tightening the big back muscle (trapezius), as well as our neck and scalp muscles. Massage is the best for releasing this but I can't afford it, self massage using my hands is awkward, tiring, and not deep enough. So I find a nice flat bit of wall (or door) stand with my back against it, then slip the ball between my backnand the wall. Then use my back/shoulders to roll the ball around the wall, moving it up and down making sure I cover my back, neck and shoulders. If you try this please do not let the ball work directly over your spine. You can vary the depth of the massage by leaning more or less. It takes a little practice and family members may think you a little odd but I've found it really helpful in my prevention regime.

    I'm sure you know about thevpressure point between the thumb and first finger which can be helpful in the initial stages too.

    The tumble drier ball is good for plantar fascitis as well.

    I hope you are feeling better Lili. Thank you for a great blog.

    Kind regards

    1. Hi Janey,
      I will try this! I've used a tennis ball to get the knots out of my upper back before, so I know that someplace around here,I do have one. I'll also look for those nobby balls. I think Dollar Tree might have them. I hadn't thought to try those on the soles of my feet. Wow! great information! Thank you!

      Have a great rest of your weekend, Janey!

  8. Janey,I have used the ball before for massage, but have forgotten all about it. It's an easy thing to do, so I'll try it again. I have started massaging my own neck and shoulders when they are sore and have been fairly successful with this. It helps that I'm flexible and can reach them easily.

    As far as side effects, I know exactly what you mean, Janey. I have found that Relpax is gentler with them than Imitrex. It takes a little longer to act, but usually works for me.

    Lili, I had not heard about tryptophans for prevention before, but I have heard that eating protein is good for depression and anxiety. I am often short on my protein, so I should try to get more. I wonder if tryptophan are related to triptans that are in many migraine meds?

    And yes, I am tired a lot. There is the migraine precursor during when I am really tired, the migraine, and the migraine "hangover" as I call it where I just feel wiped out. Even with medicine and control, I usually have all of these stages. But it could be much worse. I watched my father suffer terribly with migraines before he had the modern meds to help with them.


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