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Friday, March 31, 2017

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for the End of March

  • leftovers, using up the soup, fried rice, daughters's free lunch leftovers. There was enough to feed us all.
husband cooks
  • make your own burritos, with tortillas, cooked black beans, canned tomatoes, olives, cheese and a seasoned nut filling
  • celery sticks
husband cooks
  • brown rice and black beans
  • canned green beans
  • lentil-vegetable soup
  • glazed pumpkin muffins
  • leftover soup
  • toast
  • orange wedges and bananas
  • cucumber in Ranch dressing
  • homemade hamburgers, on
  • discount buns (59 cents/ package of 8)
  • cole slaw
  • steamed carrots
  • oven fries

  • Cabbage Patch Soup, using a cooked hamburger patty and some lentils for the protein, and then added barley, canned tomatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, celery, and cabbage. It's quite tasty; and I made enough for two nights.
  • toast
Some meals were better than others, this week. I guess that's the way it goes. We are at the end of the month, and my fridge and freezers are still annoyingly full. Who would ever think that having too much would be such a bad thing?! I continue to work at using up all of our surpluses. 

Can you believe that April begins tomorrow? April is my birth month. I have lovely memories of my birthdays as a child. My mother went above and beyond for all of our parties. I still very fondly remember my birthday cake from my 11th birthday. It was frosted in hot pinks, brilliant oranges and yellows, lime green and vibrant purple. I may never remove that image from my mind. That year, I was allowed my first slumber party. I invited all of the girls from my class for the night. For entertainment, we played a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood, going from door to door, asking for small, insignificant items on our lists, from each house. The lists had items like paper clips, an empty can, an envelope, etc. We split up into groups, and the first group to collect all of the things on their list and return home, won. I don't know if kids do these scavenger hunts any longer. Neighbors don't know each as well as they once did. I can't imagine sending my young kids out in the neighborhood to knock on doors for a game. When we returned from our hunt, we ate cake, drank soda pop, listened to music, and unrolled our sleeping bags on the family room floor. My mother slept on the couch, to ensure that we actually did sleep. Such a wonderful memory; if I could choose any time to return to, from my childhood, it would be that day. This year, I have promised myself that I will celebrate in small ways, all month long.

Just a walk down memory lane -- speaking of soda pop, do you remember when cans had pull tabs that peeled off of the tops, instead of poking inside the can? And how about cans of pop that had to be opened with a triangular punch-type can opener? And the cans were tin and not aluminum?

This is what I remember cans looking like from my early girlhood. take a look at the tops of the cans, if you can. The triangular holes have been punch with a can opener. You needed to punch two holes into the top, so liquid would pour out evenly. Just a walk down memory lane.

Have a lovely weekend!


  1. Hi Lili,

    I remember the pull tabs and I remember people pulling them off and then dropping them into the hole to settle at the bottom of the soda can and then drinking the beverage. I never did that.

    I calculated our grocery spending for the month and sadly, I was at $395 for groceries. I thought I would be way under but I was at "normal". I know once my bill was $115 but I remember justifying it because what I was buying would last. I think that was ground beef and chicken.

    Anyway, my meals were: Sunday--baked chicken and fried rice. Monday--MIl had us over for dinner
    Tues.--butternut squash sauce over pasta with chicken for hubby and fish for me. (I think this was Tues.)
    Wed.--leftover butternut squash and steak
    Thurs.--curry chicken salad with grapes with lettuce on tortillas.
    Fri.--more than likely some more curry chicken salad.

    I hope you have a wonderful birthday this month. What day is your birthday? My daughter in Honduras has hers on the 8th. That is the only celebration for April for us.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I remember putting the pull tab into the can. Now that seems like such a strange thing to do. I also remember some people would collect those tabs, and hook a bunch together to make a chain. Then they would make tins out of the chains.

      Your meals sound yummy, especially the squash, and the chicken salad. I was just thinking that chicken salad would be nice to have soon.

      My birthday is the 16th, Easter, this year. Wishing your daughter a happy birthday!

      Have a wonderful weekend, Alice!

    2. I remember the pop can chains! And making some sort of chain out of gum wrappers. :)

      I spy two nights that your hubby made the meal!

    3. Hi Kris,
      Good eyes! Yes, he's now cooking two nights per week. I'm taking another class, and the work is eating up all of my extra time. Between volunteering a couple of days per month, now, this class, tax season, and giving my daughters rides late at night (when buses are few or none), I'm very low on time.

      I made a couple of gum wrapper chains, but my sister was the queen of those chains. She had one that was extremely long. Now do you remember magazine beads? Cutting elongated triangles out of magazine pages, rolling them up tightly into beads, "varnishing" with clear nail polish, and making necklaces? These actually had a nice look to them. My goodness, teens today don't know the fun from making things out of garbage!

    4. Another class!! Good for you that you are persevering toward your career goal.

      I have heard of paper beads, but have never tried making them. That's one I need to try. I love making useful things out of garbage. As my before bed and when sitting...thing to do, I am making plarn yarn baskets to use up all the plarn that I made during my hour long commute to our jobs. Just trying to use up some of the garbage that I have lying around. So far these make great bins for yarn projects.


    5. Hi YHF,
      Magazine beads are right up your alley! Your should give them a try, and show them to your granddaughter, as well. Do you ever make shopping bags with your plarn? I saw some absolutely beautiful shopping bags made with plarn. My plastic shopping bags are still too precious to use this way, as we use them in place of trash bags throughout the house, and fewer stores are giving plastic bags. One store offers a refund for bringing your own bags, so that reduces how many bags come into the house overall.
      Have a great day, YHF!

    6. On pininterest I saw newspaper yarn that looks like colorful twine. It had the softness of string and was woven and knitted into rugs.

      Yes, I've made at least 20 bags using plarn, some with yarn, as a way to practice design without spending on yarn. We used them to hold our lunch and change of work clothes because they were easy to clean unlike fabric bags. I still have an 18 gal tote filled with balls of plarn. The downside is these are not as indestructible as I originally thought, especially if stretched when used. I once tied the handle parts together and crocheted a plarn rug. Looks like a plastic shag rug, still not disintegrated after several years.


  2. Your 11th birthday sounds magical. I know I would have liked it as an 11 year old girl. I think I would even like something like that today.

    I remember scavenger hunts like that and you don't see them that much any more for the reasons you noted. Every once in a while we get kids in the library looking for something for a scavenger hunt. That's usually planned as an educational opportunity.

    A couple of times for my kid's birthday parties, we had outdoor scavenger hunts where the kids were given things to find like a walnut, purple flower, etc. They enjoyed running around trying to find those things.

    Also, what was the seasoned nut filling you had with your burritos?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      My kids have cool weather birthdays, November and March, so outdoor activities were always very limited. Your sons's outdoor scavenger hunt games sounded like they would be fun, though. And a great way to help boys burn off energy outdoors.

      The nut filling was a mix of chopped almonds, sunflower seeds and onions, plus chili powder and cumin, I think. It was interesting.

      Have a great weekend, live and learn!

  3. Happy Birth Month, Lili!!

    Your 11th birthday slumber party sounds magical. You are very fortunate to have such wonderful memories of your childhood.

    Yesterday for dinner, my husband tried a different collard greens recipe, using bacon and chicken broth, and it was so delicious. Other dinners were freezer leftovers with our usual array of vegetable/bean side dishes.

    Have a wonderful weekend!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      Thank you!
      My mother was a saint. She did so much, put up with so much, endured so much, and with grace always, yet was given so little time here. She made sure that we always had the loveliest celebrations.

      Did you have anything with your collards and bacon? Was it broth-y? The kale in the garden is ready, I have turkey bacon and ham to use, and I could make chicken broth, so I'm set to go with what your husband made.

      I hope your weekend is wonderful, as well, YHF!

  4. Lili, I see where you got your motherly instincts from!! So good and wonderful to be given this gift!!

    Yes, the collards and bacon had lots of broth, even after steaming the greens first for 5 minutes to rid some oxalic acid. Here is the recipe he followed:
    For sides, we just ate our usual, and cooked a small pot of white rice. The broth was perfect over rice. I think this recipe would work with kale too.


  5. I remember them and I remember their jingle from the commercial - don't give me that so so cola I wanna I wanna I wanna rock and rock arolla I wanna pow pow I wanna shasta shasta - I think that's how it went.

    What a trip down memory lane - Have a great weekend!


    1. Hi Shelby,
      Now that you wrote out the jingle, I remember it too! How funny!
      Have a great day, Shelby!

  6. Ha! I don't actually remember pop cans that you had to use the opener to punch a hole in the top - for some reason that conjures up memories of canned tomato or grapefruit juice - neither of which is a terribly pleasant memory! I do, however have vivid memories of the pull top variety. Mostly I remember embedding one in the sole of my foot - learning the hard way why we don't walk barefoot in the park!

    Anyhow, as always, your meal lists sound wonderful. Do you have a good recipe for lentil soup? Because lentil soup triggers an amusing childhood memory for me. We went out to eat somewhere and the soup du jour was lentil. I'd never heard of lentil soup and my mother said not to order it because lentils were beans and she hated beans. So, of course, I had to order it just to spite her. Turned out it was the most delicious soup I'd ever had. I've never been able to recreate it though. It had a hearty smoky flavor that I've never found in any other lentil soup. Maybe it had ham or something in it. Anyhow, I'd love to hear what you put in yours.

    1. Hi Cat,
      Oh yes, canned juices, as well. The canned pop like this may have been from before your time, IDK. I do remember when the pull tabs were relatively new. Ouch on stepping on one of those.
      I do have a good recipe for lentil soup. I'll write it up soon. But the recipe that I have is more vegetable-y, and has a tomato broth, not the smokey variety. Although I do make the smokey variety, too. You need good ham and ham stock to make the smokey kind.
      Have a great day, Cat!

  7. Happy birth month, Lili The memories of your 11th birthday party were sweet to read. I can recall knowing all of our neighbors in the neighborhood back when I was growing up too. Things certainly are different today.

    I remember the pull top tabs from the cans that came all the way off, we used to just stick them inside the can when we were done. lol

    Your dinners sound delicious as usual. I love the name of the cabbage patch soup. So cute. :)

    I hope you have a great Sunday.

    1. Thank you, Belinda! The restaurant where I first had the Cabbage Patch soup called it that. It does conjure up cute mental images!
      Have a great week, Belinda!


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