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Thursday, March 1, 2018

While waiting for Senior Discount grocery day . . .

I am making do with what is in the kitchen, including:

  • stretching the remaining decaf black tea by drinking herb tea, made with herbs cut and dried from my garden 2 summers ago (if only I kept bees, the honey would be free, too). I am drinking mixed mint tea and lemon balm tea. Both very good, and I can drink them right up till bedtime with no after effects.
  • making steel cut oats in the crockpot overnight a couple of nights per week. I add dried blueberries in the morning for "gourmet" oatmeal.
  • ran out of white flour, so I'm substituting sifted whole wheat flour (to remove some of the bran) for all-purpose in some simple baking. BTW, this was horrible in a lemon mug cake, but worked well in a chocolate one. The wheat-y taste overwhelmed the lemon, but was disguised by cocoa powder.
  • scrounging the freezers for overlooked items, I found a 3-lb box of frozen spinach, hot dogs, bacon, cream puffs, and smoked salmon. A few special items to get us through the last few days till Tuesday.
  • using mint syrup that I made and canned 2 summers ago from my mint plants, when making chocolate-mint cocoa.
  • used some milk that was a week past the sell-by date to make chocolate pudding. I packed the leftovers into a small canning jar for my daughter's lunch (this one loves pudding!).  BTW, small peanut butter jar lids fit some, but not all, canning jars. The narrow opening, pint and half pint-sized canning jars must be a tad larger where the threads are, than the small, squat 4-oz jars and the globe-shaped, fruit-embossed 8-oz jars. Those latter two jars work well with plastic lids from commercial jars, like peanut butter ones.
  • scraped out a jam jar and blended with plain cream cheese for a flavored cream cheese spread. Really delicious on saltine crackers.
There is still plenty of food in the kitchen. These are just some of the treats that I've made to make what we have left seem "special." You know how it is, the "good" stuff gets gobbled up quickly after shopping. What remains is all of the ordinary foods, or basic ingredients. I find that if I make extra efforts in that last week before a major shopping trip, then we don't feel deprived of any of that "good" stuff that we had earlier.

Senior Discount day is this coming Tuesday. I've been putting together my list and will refrain from buying anything that I plan on getting at Fred Meyer where my discount would apply, until then. The big challenge will be this weekend, with everyone home. I'll have to put on some creativity.


  1. Hello, again, Lili--

    Love these ideas (we especially love to make flavored cheapo cream cheese spreads -- a favorite around here, sweet or savory).

    This is why "homemaking" is such an art.

    DS and I have talked a lot about how there are the makings of lots of good things in the house at any time-- we just have to be flexible and inventive. A lot of them are economical, too, a double-bonus. :)

    As we've said before, too, three's also a matter of deciding to want what we have. My little cheap treat around here lately has been a one-apple one-serving crisp. Takes about 23 minutes from start to finish, must cost only pennies (haven't done the calculation like I know you would have :) ), is only lightly-sweetened, and I always have the ingredients on-hand. It might not be anything special to anyone else, but I sure enjoy it when I make it. :)

    Good luck stretching things through to Senior Discount Day! Hugs-- Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      I love your apple crisp idea. I have 1 3/4 soft apples. I cut into one this morning and it was just too soft. I'll be baking the rest into a small crisp for dessert tonight.
      Today I found a small amount of cookie dough in the freezer. Life is good when there's cookie dough for a snack!
      Have a great weekend, Sara!

  2. Do you find, now that you have adults in the home, that it gets more challenging to eat out of the pantry/freezer even though there is enough food there? I have noticed with my kids that they have stronger opinions now that they are older about food. Of course, you have come up with great ideas!

    I have had similar results with subbing in WW flour for white flour--it doesn't work well with more delicate flavors but does with more intense ones. I have a recipe for peanut butter whole wheat muffins where I think the muffins would be blah if I used white flour instead--the whole wheat is a plus in this recipe. I have also found that molasses is a strong enough flavor that subbing in WW works well.

    Here's hoping your weekend with feeding your family goes well!

    1. Hi Kris,
      The challenges that I come across, now with older people who can and do cook for themselves is sometimes an ingredient that I had planned on using in a meal later in the week gets eaten, and I have to rethink whatever I was going to make. I've started using a sharpie and stickie notes on anything that I've planned for a meal later. I even bagged up the ingredients for a tuna casserole, and stickie-noted that the contents were reserved.
      I have your peanut butter muffin recipe. Thanks for letting me know that whole wheat flour is actually better!
      Have a great weekend, Kris!

    2. Haha, I tend to forget who I have given recipes to.

      Great minds think alike! I recently used masking tape to make notes on ingredients I didn't want to be used up. Worked great!

  3. Thank you for the tip about the jar lid!!!! I have one that I found at a thrift store with no lid! I'm going to try a on lid!

    1. Hi Lona,
      I try just about every lid that comes through our kitchen on the various containers that we have. I discovered that a certain plastic snap-on lid from a small can of nuts is just the right size to use as a lid on a pyrex custard cup. I'm glad my suggestion is helpful. have a wonderful weekend, Lona!

  4. Hi Lili,
    I know what you mean about stretching it out and keeping it tasty while waiting for payday, Senior Day, or whatever! I've begun to say, "Watch me pull a rabbit out of a hat!" It usually all comes together - we just have to be creative. Thanks for all your inspiration in that department. : )
    Jo Ann

    1. Hi Jo Ann,
      I have no doubt that you could put on a feast for a roomful of guests, at any given moment! I think we all could, here. This group is a collection of ingenious individuals. Glad to be inspiration.
      Have a wonderful weekend, Jo Ann!

  5. Yup, you worked your magic! I have a collection of former p butter and mayo plastic jar lids for covering opened Mason jars that contain home canned foods like relish, pickles, apple sauce, jams etc that are opened, but not yet emptied. Ball canning does sell some (I also have some of these, esp. the wide mouth ones) and it helps me to avoid using say plastic wrap on the opened jars.

    1. Hi Carol,
      I would like to pick up some plastic lids for the wide mouth jars. I bet that you find those so useful, not only for home-canned produce, but also when using those jars for storage containers. I will start looking around for those.
      Have a great weekend, Carol!

  6. And this is exactly where your training as a creative homemaker comes in, right? Being able to provide a feast out of very little. I suspect it isn't all that difficult since that is how you/I always provide meals. Use every little bit, get creative, and shop in a responsible way.

    I use mayonnaise jar lids as well as peanut butter lids for print sized mason jars. Some work better than others. It goes back to my husband wondering why I need so many mason jars--well, I need them for stuff is my answer. Smoothies, small amounts of dry pasta, spices, flour, rice, and about a million other things. If a lid can fit on the jar, then the jar is a keeper. If not, it's recycled.

    Glad to see you back Lili. I've missed you.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I've noticed that, too, about some brands of mayo having lids that fit canning jars better. I like your philosophy for choosing which jars get recycled.
      My daughter loves using canning jars for her lunches. She doesn't mind that several of those jars make her lunch quite heavy. I've missed you, too. Have a wonderful weekend, Alice!

  7. One of my daughters living away lives next to a large grocery store chain that is open 24 hours. Tuesday is student discount day and she generally shops then. The money you save is like another income stream.

    1. Hi Teresa,
      I absolutely love your last sentence. It is another stream of income. At the end of the year it winds up being a substantial amount of money that didn't have to be earned/paid income taxes on. Good job on your daughter for being smart and shopping on the day when a discount is in effect!
      Have a wonderful weekend, Teresa!

  8. Never thought about sifting the whole wheat flour. I'll have to remember that because sometimes it does overpower things.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Yeah, and if you sift some of the bran out, you can reserve that bran for a batch of bran muffins. Some grinds of whole wheat flour sift finer than others. And a real sifter (as opposed to a sieve) sifts the most bran out.
      Have a wonderful weekend, live and learn!

  9. Hi Lili,
    Great job on being creative with what you have. We just have the small freezer above the frig but have been using
    Up what's in there it is amazing what we manage to squeeze in there. We were having a use it up eat what's in the house kind of challenge. It is fun to find new ways to fix things. We only had one really bad thing we made a new kind of gluten free Mac and Cheese from the 99 cents store. It was so bad neither one of us could eat it and we
    are not picky. It was only 99 cents so that's okay. We have been finding organic strawberries at the 99 cents store yum. We bought 6 pounds ate some fresh and froze some. We have also been buying our bread,corn and flour tortillas here. It sure saves a lot of work. It is nice to hear from you.

    1. Patti--
      Gluten-free pasta is such a hit-and-miss. I think we've tried just about every grain combination that's out there, and some are delicious; but quite a few fall to mush long before they are even al dente. Like you, I don't have all that high expectations, but I'm not sure how you can honestly sell a few of these products, when they are SO bad (even for cheap prices.)
      Best-- Sara

  10. My daughter tells me I can make something out of nothing in our kitchen. We have a great skill, Lili. Not everyone can do what we can. Hope you have a great week.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      I bet that you are fabulous at creating great meals out of what looks like nothing! It is a special skill, isn't it?
      Have a great week, Belinda!

  11. Hi Lili! I always learn so much from you. I am following your lead and am going to FM on Tuesday. This week (just ended)I've made a ham and brie quiche using half & half and pie crust from freezer. Cut in 6 slices and froze 3.Also discovered a small container of blueberries so made muffins (at 82 I'm a bit forgetful! lol.) Question: I took out a quart of 2% milk from the freezer (tiny freezer in my apt.) Will milk work in a quiche? I want to use my last frozen crust and make a spinach, bacon and cheddar cheese before I lose it. Question 2: on freebie Friday at FM is it shown what and where those items are? Thanks so much. Now I'm off to make banana, applesauce muffins. Also yesterday I made beef stew with some "sad" vegies! I'm on a roll! Shirley near Seattle

    1. Hi Shirley,
      For the milk and quiche, I use milk all of the time in quiche. I use slightly less milk than cream called for in a recipe, maybe a tablespoon less per cup.

      For Fred Meyer: the Friday freebie is a coupon that you download to your Fred Meyer loyalty card/account, from their website on Fridays, then use the coupon any time in the next two weeks. The website is At the top of the page, click on "promotions," then under promotions is "Free Friday Download." You'll have to set up an account on their website. Then login to your account, and you can download the coupon to your card. If you don't have a card, you can set up an account that you can access through your phone number. So, if you have downloaded this past Friday's freebie coupon, then finding the item is sometimes easy, and sometimes you have to hunt. When you first go in the door at FM, look around that immediate area. Often times the freebie is on a display right at the entrance. Otherwise, look in whatever would be the "usual" spot for that kind of item. I still have the coupon from 2 weeks ago for a Clif bar. I know that the Clif bars are sold in the natural foods section. So, when you check out, you'll use your card or phone number to redeem the downloaded coupon. This all sounds way more complicated than it is. Believe me it's simple once you do it.
      Also, for Fred Meyer's Senior discount -- on the front page of the circular it tells you what the discount is good on. It's usually all store-brand foods, OTC meds, vitamins, personal care, and paper goods/cleaning supplies (Kroger, Fred Meyer, Pssst, Private Selection), household items, and sometimes gardening stuff and clothing. It's a 10% off discount. Now to get the discount on Tuesday, you need to tell the cashier that you are over 55. They will scan 2 coupons, either from the front page of your circular or that they have tacked next to the register. Good luck!

      Great job on rescuing the aging/frozen foods!! That's terrific. I wish I could join you for a bowl of that stew. I bet it was yummy.
      Have a great day, Shirley!

    2. Thanks for all the great info, Lili! I do have a FM loyalty card. I got the banana applesauce muffins made but not the second quiche. That will be today's project. Also, true-to-form the stew was better the second day. You're invited to my table anytime! Shirley


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