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Friday, November 15, 2019

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for November

This photo is from our family trip to the pumpkin farm several weeks ago. I love this! The trees are so beautiful.

For those of you who shop at Fred Meyer, I'm really happy to report that there is another bonus Senior Discount Day, Tuesday, Nov. 19. AND, the turkey deals have been announced, so if you're buying your turkey at Fred Meyer and you're 55+, you can save on your turkey and everything else you might buy at Fred Meyer. Plus, there's a friends and family pass (discount in several departments) in the circular. See the front page of this week's circular.

I went to Fred Meyer for the first bonus Senior Discount shopping day on Tuesday and spent $18.75, bringing my spending up for the month to $112.43. (I bought sugar, eggs, and coffee.) My daughters paid me a couple of dollars for something, so I used that money to buy an additional gallon of milk for the month while I was at Fred Meyer.

Here are this week's evening meals.


meatloaf with gravy
freebie mashed potatoes
Swiss chard and onions
butternut squash

rice and beans
lentil sprouts in vinaigrette
orange segments

indoor lettuce in pots

peanut noodles
lettuce (from indoor pots) with dressing

kale and apple salad

baked chicken leg quarters with gravy
fresh whole wheat bread
kale and apple salad (both garden items)
sweet potato fries
scratch brownies


Tuesday (daughter's night)
pumpkin, bean, and sausage soup
tossed salad using the last of the lettuce, plus some kale
zucchini bread from the freezer


Wednesday (other daughter's night)
chicken and vegetable soup (made with chicken bones from Monday, carrots, onions, and kale from garden)
scratch whole wheat and raisin muffins
chocolate chip cookies

gingered carrot and lentil sprout salad

gingered carrot and lentil sprout salad
curried butternut squash and peanut butter soup
bread and butter
apple wedges and last of the homemade caramel sauce

You may have noticed, we have brownies often. I think this is one of my daughters' favorite thing to bake. About once per week, the two of them will hang out in the kitchen late at night, talk, and bake. Years from now, when they are both busy in their own lives, they'll remember all of those late nights together in the kitchen baking brownies.

Do you remember those 64-oz jars of peanut butter that I bought for $2 at a new dollar store in our area? They have an expiration date of January 2020, so I've been trying to use peanut butter in meals. This week, we did peanut noodles and a squash and peanut butter soup. I also made peanut butter granola yesterday to go with a fresh batch of yogurt (also made yesterday).

We finished off the potted lettuce this week. It did okay sitting in the window for over a month. It did, however, develop a small aphid problem, only noticeable when I was rinsing the leaves. We've now moved on to kale, chard, and sorrel (in garden) and radish greens (in planter on deck), plus sprouts and kale microgreens. All of the greens are generously supplemented with winter squash, canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and carrots. 

I continue to look for new ways to use the lentil sprouts, since these are so easy to grow in my kitchen. If you recall, last week I made a stir fried rice and lentil sprout dish. This is my go-to quick snack or lunch, when there's nothing easy to grab and I have leftover cooked rice on hand. This week, I made a carrot and lentil sprout salad which was very tasty. I'm sure that I will share many more creations that use lentil sprouts in the coming months. (And you're all sitting on the edge of your seats, waiting in anticipation for these fascinating lentil sprout reports -- ha ha!)

How has your week gone? Was there anything interesting on your menu this week? Any big plans for the weekend?

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!


  1. Once again, it all looks good.

    We are having an early Thanksgiving Dinner at my brother-in-law's house this weekend and we are contributing several dishes. There is going to be some cooking going on here tonight and tomorrow. However, I think we have all of the ingredients on hand. The hardest part of all of this is always transporting the dishes.

  2. We visited my parents late afternoon yesterday so when we got home dinner was not ready. We did have some ground beef ready to use so the quick dinner ended up being salisbury steak, instant mashed potatoes for hubby and whole grain brown basmati rice for me, leftover cauliflower and a few green beans. It was a very satisfying meal and the two of us worked side by side to get it ready and that was really nice. Hubby has yogurt and raspberries for dessert and I don't have any dessert (my choice).

    We had some really good but simple meals this week. Tater tot casserole, baked chicken legs with butternut squash mash, vegetable and pork soup and lots of other things that I cannot remember.

    I purchased butternut squash at Horrock's last week and they should last for a long time but when we came home from our weekend away, I saw that two of them were rotting. I was able to cut around the rot and save the rest but this is a hardy squash that should last for months and it didn't. I have always had problems with buying produce at Horrocks. The apples are always bruised and mealy and now this. I always thought Horrock's was a high end store with good produce but they actually have the worst produce. Dad always grew them but this year's garden was the worst he ever had and he didn't get any beans nor any butternut squash. I'll have to dig deep into my freezer and find some.


  3. Could you share the gingered salad dressing? I recently received a ton of organic ginger hands (now frozen)and am looking for ways to use it. TIA.

  4. Could you share the pumpkin, bean, and sausage soup recipe? DH found heirloom pumpkins on clearance, so I'm looking for some different ways to use it.

  5. OK, while we in recipe-requesting mode ...... can you share your PB noodles recipe? (or if you have already posted it, share the link with me).

    I am SO HUNGRY for meatloaf. My son actively dislikes it so I haven't made it in awhile. I wanted to reach into the computer screen and gobble it up.

    Hmm, what DID we eat this week? Pork chops on Monday (sale item) with the last of the greens my hubby harvested from the garden and roasted potatoes .... re-heated leftover soup from last week and made 30-minute rolls (really, it takes 45 minutes) to go with them and also had salad .... Wednesday my hubby was out of town so the kids and I used a gift card and went out to Red Robin's ... last night I made an egg casserole, homemade cinnamon bread which I toasted, and cut up some fruit .... tonight I have kielbasa & white bean soup in the crockpot and I'm thinking about what kind of bread to make to go along with it.

    The sun is finally out and the snow is melting! It's a good day! :)

  6. Hi Live and Learn,
    Your weekend sounds like it will be a festive one! Good luck with all of the food prep.
    You know, I've always wanted some insulated casserole transporting cases. I see them in reviews from time to time and think I'd like to buy some. Some day. Do you use anything like those? There are some really nice ones on the market.

    Enjoy your time with family, Live and Learn!

  7. Hi Alice,
    that's such a shame about your produce problems with Horrock's. I hope that they get thongs sorted out soon. Do you ever mention this to the store manager? I have a friend who bought some fresh tomatoes that went bad far too soon. She mentioned it to the manager the next tome she was in the store and they gave her a refund and said they'd look into the produce situation. I know that if enough people bring these things up to management, eventually stores do something to improve the situation. Just saying.

    Your quick dinner from last night sounded very yummy. You and your husband did a great job throwing this together after spending time with your parents for the afternoon.

    Have a great weekend, Alice!

  8. Hi Carol,
    It was pretty simple. I mixed mayo, honey, and vinegar, like I would for a carrot-raisin salad. Then I added finely chopped candied ginger, that I'd candied myself a while ago.
    Here's a link to how I make crystallized ginger:
    Making Crystallized Ginger
    Once the ginger is fully crystallized and dried out, it keeps in the glass jar in the fridge for a few months. I'm still using some that I made with fresh ginger back in May.

    Lucky you to receive all of that fresh ginger. Fresh ginger is also delicious in chicken broth-type soups, tea, and stir fries.
    Good luck with this! Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Carol.

  9. Anonymous said...
    Could you share the pumpkin, bean, and sausage soup recipe? DH found heirloom pumpkins on clearance, so I'm looking for some different ways to use it.

    Oh wow! What a wonderful find! My daughter made this soup. It was thick and rich. She used chicken broth, pumpkin puree, maple breakfast sausage links chopped up and cooked/drained, onions, cooked pinto beans, sage and rosemary. It was all to taste, so I don't have measurements. Basically, she sauteed chopped onions in oil, then add the pumpkin, chicken stock, herbs and salt and simmered for 20 minutes or so. Once this was cooked and the onions were soft, she added the cooked beans and chopped, cooked sausage and put in the crockpot for several hours. It was quite delicious.

    Good luck with all of the wonderful heirloom pumpkin! And have a great weekend.

  10. Hi Kris,
    Mostly, my husband makes the peanut butter noodles. But when I do, this is how I make them. I cook spaghetti noodles according to package. in a medium saucepan, I heat peanut butter with a little water to thin, add some minced garlic or garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and a dash of soy sauce to taste. It's the combination of peanut butter and garlic that I think makes it taste so yummy. If I have green onions or chives, I add a generous amount of those, minced, at the very end. Then I toss the pasta in this sauce. I also sometimes add a bit of ginger, either fresh, minced, or powder. some folks add coconut milk, as well. This is a good, easy, and fast dish to make. Paired with a salad and it hits the main food groups.

    Your meals for the week sound delicious. Your kielbasa and white bean soup sounds like it'll be perfect for a pleasant Friday evening. I'll be doing some sort of egg dinner tonight.

    I'm glad your snow is melting. Maybe fall will return to your area. Have a great weekend, Kris!

  11. I was going to ask about the lentil sprout salad, but then you answered my question in your post. I have lentils on hand, so I'm going to try and sprout them to see how they do and incorporate them into our meals. Thank you for the idea.

  12. Hi Lili,
    We are still enjoying lentil sprouts almost everyday, as our source of fresh vegetable, along with the cheaper sources of store bought cabbage and carrots, My husband is taking a break from gardening for awhile. Our collard greens were so prolific that he had to stop, it was taking too much time to process. We froze a lot of the collards so now we enjoy it in our fresh salads, plain, straight from the freezer. It is a nice complement to shredded cabbage and carrots. I'm looking forward to how you use lentil sprouts. It's great in pita bread sandwiches.


  13. Hi Belinda,
    I hope that you enjoy the lentil sprouts. They have been very easy for me to grow -- so I hope that means they will be easy for you, as well.
    Have a great day, Belinda!

  14. Hi YHF,
    It's good to hear from you! How are you and your husband doing? Have you had much time with grandkids lately?
    It is you who I credit for inspiring me to try growing lentil sprouts! Big thanks to you!
    Wow, that sounds like you've had a lot of collard greens. I can understand your husband wanting to take a break from growing them, given all of the time it takes to process fresh produce. I often feel that way at the end of the gardening season, here. Because the weather forces us to quit the outdoor garden each year, I do get a significant break, which is a very good thing.

    Sometimes, I just eat the lentil sprouts, as is, with a bit of vinegar, salt, and oil as a dressing. They make such an easy vegetable to add to quick lunches. When I have a bit more time and some leftover rice, I make a quick stir fry of rice, sprouts, garlic powder and soy sauce in some oil. It makes a delicious and fast lunch. I figure the sprouts add a vegetable, while the combination of sprouts and rice make a good protein source. Next time I make pocket bread I'll add some sprouts to the filling.

    It's always good to hear from you. Take care YHF.

  15. Mmmm...vinegar oil dressing sounds fantastic with lentil sprouts. We use an oriental style dressing that is somewhat all purpose. Everyone loves it, including the grandkids. Thanks for asking about them. They will be over on Thanksgiving weekend, and again a few days during Christmas. We cherish their visits because we know that very soon their visits will be less frequent.

    Lili, I am impressed with your daughters' culinary skills. You have taught them so well. I was thinking that in training our children to have the proper skills and mindset to live well and frugally, we as their teachers have to demonstrate the same in our daily life. Too often parents will seek the easiest (and sometimes costlier) home management solutions like eating out or spending money to entertain themselves, yet expect menial hard work from their children as chores. That strikes me as duplicitous. No wonder frugality is not well understood or appreciated. Just my rant lol

    Have a nice day,

  16. Oh...and I hope you and your family are doing well too. We've been fine. My husband is not in the clear, never will according to his doctor, because recurrence is always a possibility, but so far so good. His doctor keeps stressing healthy diet and exercise. I've become the watcher where I monitor him like a coach or nag lol. Lately, I've been very conscious of aging issues, because I've hit Medicare age this year. I hope I have enough life left to sew all the blankets I want to leave for my children and grandchildren. That's become my main interest these days. Also rugmaking and weaving I still love, but blankets seem to be more forgiving designwise and I can use the totes of fabric that I already have.


  17. Hi YHF,
    I think you're right about setting a good example for our kids. I would feel like the evil step-mother in Cinderella if I made my daughters do the hard work but I took the easy route. What I have tried to do is teach my kids how to take care of themselves, should they ever really need to be frugal. There's a chance that one or all of them will be well-off enough to choose which areas in which to be frugal or not. But in case they aren't, they will have the skills to make-do with the basics. I hope that is what I've done with my daughters. I did teach my son to cook when he was very young, but by the time he was a teen, he really didn't want to do anything in the kitchen. But he could always learn now, if he was so inclined.

    I will keep your husband in my prayers. Healthy eating and regular exercise can really make a difference. My father-in-law had prostrate cancer about 20 years ago. He underwent treatment and did very well. Both his father and brother died from this type of cancer. Yet, my father-in-law went on to live 20 more years, passing away at age 97, and not from cancer.

    The blankets that you're making for your kids and grandkids will surely be treasured. My husband has a quilt that his grandmother made. He does treasure it.

    Have a wonderful afternoon and evening, YHF.


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