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Friday, July 5, 2019

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for a Summer Holiday Week

leftover rice topped with garden snow peas and peanut butter/soy sauce sauce
corn on the cob (Sprout's sale 20 cents/cob- we use 1/2 cob per person)
deviled eggs (remember those eggs bought at 55 cents dozen?)
watermelon (Fred Meyer, for 21 cents/lb)

baked chicken leg quarters (bought at Walmart in 10-lb bag)
rice and lentils
corn on the cob

hot dogs in homemade buns
corn on the cob
green salad with garden lettuce, chard, and strawberries, tossed with vinaigrette

egg, cheese, and waffle sandwiches
cherries from our tree

cabbage, onions, and hotdogs over
brown rice

coconut curried lentils (got a deal on coconut milk with a coupon -- 45 cents/half-gallon)
homemade plum chutney
millet pilaf
cucumber, plain yogurt, garlic, and mint salad

Thursday -- 4th of July Holiday
barbecued chicken leg quarters
pan rolls
canned corn tossed with browned green pepper and onion dices, plus seasonings (canned corn from clearance rack -- dented can, 35 cents each)
creamy rhubarb gelatin salad
tossed salad of garden greens and Parmesan shavings (leftover from reception) in homemade Italian dressing
blueberry pie (frozen blueberries from last summer in a scratch crust)
watermelon infused water (lots and lots of small slices of watermelon in a large pitcher of tap water, infused for 36 hours)
soda brought by son and DIL

As this was a holiday week, I spent a good share of my time cooking. Keeping up with daily meals while preparing for a couple of holiday meals is a difficult task, as you all know. one thing that I did to make this a little easier for myself was to concentrate the bulk of my "holiday" cooking on one day. On that day, I made the daily dinner before lunch, so that I could have some of dinner for my lunch. Then I cooked for the rest of the afternoon and into evening, baking a 2-week supply of bread, a pie, marinating the chicken, preparing for a picnic, chopping veggies and rhubarb, harvesting and cleaning greens, making dressing, making jello -- you get the picture, I'm sure. I was so exhausted when that was done, but glad to know that the holiday meals would be easier to pull together in the moment.

We had not just the dinner on the 4th of July, but we also took a picnic to the zoo for the day. One daughter had to work on the 4th (at the zoo), so we brought a picnic there and had lunch with her while she took her break. As an employee at the zoo, my daughter was able to get discounted tickets for the other 3 of us. It was still a kind of expensive day for our budget, but worth being able to share the holiday as a family. I did try to make the picnic lunch simpler, but still within our budget. For the picnic, we brought cheese, crackers, and breadsticks (leftover and stashed from the reception), cut-up watermelon, deviled eggs, candy-coated pretzel wands, chocolates (from reception), and canned soda (leftover from Easter, brought by son and DIL). The picnic was quite frugal, in that I didn't buy a single extra thing. Whenever we have a party or celebration and I buy goodies, the leftovers get stashed to use for another special occasion. My family is used to and accepts this, knowing that the goodies will show up and make another event special.

I'm most proud that we ate within our budget for the entire week. While at the zoo, I was very tempted to buy myself a cup of coffee, but I resisted and had water from the drinking fountain instead. The dinner was fantastic. My daughters did the grilling and even did so without charcoal briquettes. They pre-baked the chicken in the oven, then used the sticks and small branches from the cherry tree that I pruned in the spring, in place of briquettes to finish the cooking, add wood smoke flavor and grilled texture to the chicken skin and meat. I cooked the used marinade on the stove to kill bacteria and thicken it to a sauce, then my daughters used this to baste the chicken as it grilled.

And now, we have enough leftovers that I don't have to cook tonight! Yay!

I hope that your week went well, that you had good weather, and you experienced moments of joy!


  1. I love following your shopping and cooking plan. You do amazingly well on a budget. The only thing that stands out to me is the frequent use of hot dogs. I would avoid this. They are just not good for us! Maybe once a year, I will buy Hebrew National hot dogs for a cookout,but that is about it!

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for your support! Hope you had a good holiday week.

  2. How fun for you all to have a day at the zoo! You are much more elaborate for your 4th of July than we are. We grilled brats, and mostly ate fresh produce (corn on the cob--8 for $1 at Meijers--cherries that my husband and kids picked that morning--watermelon which of course was on sale, and leftover potato chips). Our heat and humidity has been high this week so produce is super appealing to me, probably because of the high water content in it. I've also been making a lot of iced tea lately. It really hits the spot in this kind of weather.

    Happy weekend!

    1. Hi Kris,
      Your 4th celebration sounded both frugal and fun. As a child, I always thought picking cherries was just a fun activity. I hope the heat and humidity calms down soon. That can be draining!

  3. Sounds like you ate very well. My daughter works at an aquarium and we get free passes. I'm surprised that you don't.

    1. Hi Marybeth,
      Oh, how very lucky to get free passes to the Aquarium. Our tickets were just discounted, but that in itself made it possible for 3 of us to go down there for the day, and I think my daughter who was working that day really appreciated having us there. Have a great weekend!

  4. If someone read your menus not knowing anything about your budget, they would still seem varied and nutritious. I'm sure your family appreciates the variety you provide.

    A trip to the zoo is long overdue for us. We go to the National Zoo which is free, but the parking is $22. The subway is even more expensive. But it is a favorite place. Not only do we like the animals, but also the nice landscaping.

  5. Your menu sounds wonderful. I'd like details/recipe on your egg waffle sandwich and also the coconut curried lentils.

    Our 4th of July was a splurge. In memory of husband's grandma, we got a bucket of KFC. I added watermelon and corn on the cob to supplement.

  6. Thank you, live and learn. Whether or not my family appreciates what I do, I know that I am doing my best given my current circumstances. That belief sustains me.
    Goodness, parking is expensive! I should like to visit the National Zoo someday, for both the animals and the landscaping.. Something else added to my list of places to see in this life.

  7. Hi Ruthie,
    So, the egg waffle sandwich was my daughter's. She styled it after something she had seen at 7-11. 7-11 calls it a "hot, stuffed waffle." 7-11 has partnered with Pillsbury to bake a waffle with the filling inside. If you image search Pillsbury 7-11 stuffed waffle you can see what there's looks like.What my daughter did was make Belgian waffles, split them in half, then load each split waffle with a scrambled egg and cheese patty. We had them with maple syrup, but they would also make a great grab and go, protein-rich breakfast sandwich.

    The coconut, curried lentils was one of my dinners. I have to say, this was my favorite meal that we ate last week-- it was that good. I didn't follow a recipe, per se, but was striving for a certain flavor. I cooked lentils until just tender (not mushy). In a skillet, I browned a large onion, diced in about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, then added the cooked lentils, curry powder, cumin, garlic powder, pinch cloves, pinch ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, dehydrated chives, unsweetened coconut flakes, raisins, homemade chutney, and a couple of cups of coconut milk. The lentils soaked up the coconut milk quickly, so just before serving I added about another 3/4 cup of coconut milk. I tasted the curry as I went and wound up adding a bit more curry powder, chutney, salt, and ginger to balance the flavors at the end. This was a creamy curry as opposed to a tomato-based one. I made a lot, about enough for 6 hearty adult portions if served over or with a grain. I'll be making this dish again later this week. My intention will be to make enough to freeze some leftovers for my weekday lunches.

    I like your 4th of July splurge with the chicken to remember your husband's grandmother. That's the sort of thing I would do -- spend a little extra as a remembrance of a loved one or to spend some family time together, marking an occasion in a loved one's life. The watermelon and corn on the cob sounds like the perfect balance for the chicken.


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