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Friday, July 15, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful suppers for mid-July


Refried beans, homemade from pintos, olive liquid, oil, tomato paste and spices
Brown rice, both topped with a green tomatillo-cilantro salsa (a gift)
Tossed salad of garden lettuce, garden carrots, celery in a homemade dressing
Scratch brownies (using this recipe)


Homemade cheese pizza, scratch crust, quickie scratch marinara


Scratch macaroni and cheese (Dollar Tree macaroni noodles, homemade cheese sauce)
Mustard glazed carrots
Deviled eggs
Brownies or lemon bars (leftover from serving at coffee hour)


Huevos rancheros
Fried corn tortillas
Green salad
Carrot sticks
Lemon bars


Meatloaf, gravy
Brown rice
Tossed salad, with garden lettuce and store carrots and celery, topped with deviled egg wedges, and covered in scratch dressing
Last of the watermelon


A lecture and dinner at our church (Sloppy Joe's)


Cheesy scrambled eggs
Scratch biscuits
Steamed carrots
Apple, celery, raisin salad

I was bit surprised, this week, that I could begin picking some of the apples. They're still tart, but work in salads, and are a nice change from all the berries and melons. And they're free -- lol! I have a couple of favorite variations on apple salad. Sometimes it's more like a traditional Waldorf salad, other times it's apples, shredded cheddar and raisins in mayo dressing. I bought celery last weekend, so our apple salad last night had apples, raisins and the celery. Yummy.

I also bought 10 pounds of carrots last weekend. Our garden carrots still need time to mature. I was able to pull a couple of good-sized ones, but the rest are from a reseeding effort, and need another month to grow. The store carrots, though, have given us lots of steam carrots, glazed carrots and carrot sticks this week.

I am missing potatoes, these days. but I do believe that we're close to being able to dig new potatoes. Maybe next week there will be rosemary potatoes on the menu.

With my grocery shopping last weekend, I'm now up to about $50 spent for the month, so far.

How were your menus this past week? Anything stand out as being particularly welcome and enjoyed?

Have a great weekend!


  1. It has been a very difficult week at work and at home with long hours and I'm pretty much brain dead.

    Sunday we had a big pot of spaghetti.
    Monday there were no kids home and dad wanted me to pick beans so I had a quick potato and beans before going to their house. The rest had leftover spaghetti.
    Tues. I worked very late and since I missed family dinner I have no idea what anyone ate that night. I think I came home had some toast and headed off the bed.
    Wed. was another very busy day and there weren't supposed to be anyone home for dinner and then plans changed and everyone was home. I hadn't made dinner for a crowd so I was unprepared. There was a lot of stressful school related things to work out and dinner never got made so we did the rare chinese carry-out.
    Thurs. there was enough chinese leftover for most people and since I worked late again I couldn't make anything to supplement. No kids were home for dinner but two were home for lunch. There was enough food in the fridge to give everyone what they needed for the day.
    Tonight I have asian chicken in the crockpot and I think everyone will be home for dinner.

    The fridge is pretty empty except for a few plums, peaches and cherries. Even the cats food is empty except for what is in their bowl. I explained to them that we all are on limited food for the day today but tonight I will get some groceries. I hope they understand. They all got a little slice of deli meat as a treat this morning so they should be fine.

    I'm glad it's Friday and I hopefully will have a nice plan in place for next week. All of my busyness this week was unexpected so I couldn't have planned for not having meals ready.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I'm sorry this has been a hard week for you, and I hope next week is much better.

      I had a very comical picture in my mind of you carrying on a conversation with your cats, about the state of the pantry, and how they'll just need to have some patience for the day!

      Have a great weekend, Alice!

  2. We just pulled the first cucumber from the garden this week and enjoyed fresh crisp slices with dinner. We are anxiously awaiting our tomato, zucchini, peppers and more cucumber!


    1. Hi Saryn,
      Oooh, I am sooo envious. Our cucumbers are just beginning to set, so no fresh ones for us for weeks!! Enjoy your fresh produce!

  3. I finally used a free box of Hamburger Helper that came in the mail last year, a few months past dated. It gave the option of using chicken, so I used some leftover cooked chicken pieces from the freezer (near the carcass meat after making broth). We ate this for several days. Since our grand daughter was over, we served salmon scraps and ribs (readymade), her favorites. We ended her stay with lunch at a Chinese restaurant, using a BIGIF coupon from the AARP Rewards for Good site. Also the day before while shopping, we ate at McDonald's using a BIGIF quarter pounder sandwich coupon from doing a survey. She noticed that I have a coupon wherever we go. I know it is not the most frugal to eat out, but we don't sit down in a restaurant often so I thought it would be a nice treat for us as well. We also did some back to school shopping with her, and though I suggested she look at thrift stores first, I couldn't force the issue. So a lot was spent at the outlet mall. I figured I saved our daughter some time, and helped her with her budget, so that was good enough this time.

    Have a nice day!!


    1. I forgot to mention, the big hit was making frozen fruit "ice cream" using the Yonanas appliance. Our granddaughter preferred making a banana/strawberry/blueberry fruit dessert over readymade chocolate ice cream, now that's a winner. I bought the appliance at the thrift store thinking of our grandsons who don't like eating fruits. They will be over soon, so I'm on a mission to find lots of bargain bananas to freeze.


    2. Hi YHF,
      I think by using your coupons to eat out, you're showing your granddaughter that there are ways to have what you want, but not spend as much. So it's a good thing to take her out, with coupons, while she's visiting. And for the clothing at thrift shops, maybe another time, when she's visiting, and you need to make a stop at a thrift shop for a household item, just cruise by the teen clothing, and if something catches her eye, buy it for her. It would give her the idea that good things can come from thrift stores. But for now, she's probably wanting to dress like all the other girls her age, which is crucial to fitting in when you're young. So, I understand her wanting to buy retail. With my own daughters, I would take them to a store like Ross or Marshall's, at the beginning of the school year and let them choose 1 thing. They were always surprised that a "regular" store wouldn't have much to choose from, in comparison to a thrift store.

      That's great about the fruit "ice cream"! It sounds delicious. I need to get my Donvier cranking.

      Have a great weekend!

    3. Good idea about casually looking at the clothing while there for craft and household items. She is used to hand-me-downs from their family/friends, so I don't see why thrift store is so difficult a leap, but I'll let her decide. I guess there is a bias against thrift store, although a lot more acceptable these days. Your daughters are so smart, I do notice the wider selection and better quality at thrift stores than regular store retail. The quality at regular stores have really gone down lately.

      The day we were at the thrift store, we bought her a yarn and a cute storage bin that was brand new, altogether for the price of that yarn at regular retail, so it was like getting the bin free. I think in time she will see that money stretches farther at thrift stores.


    4. YHF,
      When your granddaughter is a bit older, she may also be interested in "vintage" resale shops. In Seattle, we have a couple of vintage clothing areas. Most are near universities or the city center. They're a bit more expensive than thrift shops, but still less than malls. They seem to appeal to older high school girls and college students. And the clothing is all geared towards younger people (no old fuddy duddy stuff). It's a good, in between shopping experience, of thrift and malls. And seen as the trendy thing to do, when you're young.

  4. Hi, Lili--

    My most creative make-do meal this week was actually this morning.

    We had two lonely andouille sausages in the freezer, two leftover twice baked potatoes that needed to be eaten, a half an onion to use up, and a couple of tortillas left from another meal.

    I chopped and sauteed the sausages and onion with the last 1/2 teaspoon I had of dried cilantro, then chopped and added the twice-baked potatoes.

    Then I grated some cheese and scrambled some eggs, heated the tortillas, and turned it all into breakfast burritos.

    Some of us added taco sauce (even though the sausages are hot) and/or yogurt, too. Delicious, and finished up a lot of orphan leftovers! :)

    Hope it's a lovely weekend. Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      Your breakfast sounds delicious, and quite frugal in using up many of your leftovers. I've got a fridge of odds and ends leftovers to deal with today. It's a fun challenge.
      have a great day!

  5. The tradition in this area is to eat the first new potatoes creamed with fresh peas (usually ripe at the same time). The bite size potatoes with the sweet peas is delicious. Do you have any garden/food traditions in your area?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      New potatoes and peas in cream sauce was a favorite of ours when I grew shelling peas.

      I think the most prevalent gardening/gleaning tradition in the PNW would likely have to do with the local wild blackberries. Almost everyone I know picks at least a handful of blackberries every summer. And with those first quarts of blackberries, it seems that every potluck, picnic and gathering features several homemade cobblers or pies. Blackberry canes are in urban areas throughout the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan region.So practically everyone has access to free blackberries, here.

      The other big food thing would be the salmon. When the Copper River salmon comes in, every restaurant features it on their menu, and most folks feel the need to buy at least a little.


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