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Friday, January 31, 2020

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for the Last Bit of January

Last day of January -- wow! Did the month fly by or what?!

As I mentioned the other day, I spent $1.98 on groceries this past week on a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of salsa, bringing my January spending up to $85.10. That's $20.84 under budget, so I'll roll that excess over into February.

The meals for the week continued to use what we have on hand. Tasty but basic meals. Here's what we had for dinners this past week.

the week's various leftovers, combined with lentil-based minestrone soup


scrambled eggs
pasta with tomato sauce
carrot sticks

turkey, potato, onion, carrot hash


brown rice
gravy made with meatloaf drippings, flour, paprika, oregano, salt, and leftover pizza sauce
canned green beans
orange wedges
chocolate-tofu silk

Tuesday (daughter cooked)

baked lentils (like baked beans, just with lentils, these were leftover from last week)
corn muffins (leftover from last week)
kale salad
pumpkin pie


Wednesday (other daughter cooked)
hot dogs
boxed stuffing
canned green beans
canned corn
leftover pumpkin pie for anyone who wanted some


corn and ham souffle
lentil sprout salad
roasted sweet potatoes
more leftover pumpkin pie

The daughter who cooked on Wednesday had a very tight schedule that day. I offered to swap nights with her, but she preferred to just get her night over with. When she has a busy day like this, she'll often ask me for some quick and easy dinner suggestions. I give her my best, easy and fast suggestions that use what we have on hand. While it's good to know how to throw meals together from scratch, I also think it's good to know how to improvise a quick and easy meal that hits all of the food groups, tastes great, and uses less expensive convenience foods.

On the non-food front, Thursday I swapped out the green bulbs in a strand of green and white adorning a bush next to the kitchen door with some red bulbs. That bush will be lit up in red and white for Valentine's Day. 

Also on Thursday, my housecleaning chore for the day was to clean the baseboards in the kitchen, hall to the garage, laundry room, powder room, and entry hall. These are the walkways that get the most foot traffic and so the baseboards become quite dirty. Washing breathes new life into them. Our baseboards are painted white, so dust and dirt really show. A good cleaning makes them almost look like they've been repainted. Cleaning baseboards in high-traffic areas is one of the best bangs for a buck in cleaning tasks, in my opinion. They get so dirty -- so a good clean-up makes a difference to me.

Have a lovely weekend!


  1. I recognize those curtains. I had those in my previous house. Also, I recently did the baseboads and doors in my main hallway. Great minds think alike. :)

  2. I'm pleased that last night's dinner made enough for us to eat again tonight (Mexican chicken in the crockpot) so all I have to do is make rice, carrot sticks, and microwave last night's dinner and voila! I'm done! Wednesday I made a sheet pan sausage supper with potatoes, onion, and carrots as well as turkey smoked sausage; Monday was tacos and I can't remember what Tuesday was. Oh well.

    Thanks for your cleaning tips! I should have clarified--my stove top overall is fine (electric, I throw the burner pans in the dishwasher periodically and wipe down the stovetop well). I find that other surfaces which I don't tackle as regularly (blades on the ceiling fan, etc.) can get a light greasy build up so I was looking for ideas to quickly cut through that. I'll try the rubbing alcohol! I confess I don't do a thorough clean-out-the-cupboard kind of cleaning--I just wipe things down as I notice them--but I do like to periodically do a thorough cleaning of the cupboard faces as well as the baseboards, walls, light fixtures, refrigerator including the icky top, etc. in my kitchen. I also try to get to the walls, ceiling, light fixtures, and so on in the bathroom as that area also gets icky but I can't seem to pull it off as often as I should. I sometimes use my Swiffer mop to "dust" the bathroom walls as they seem to get, I don't know, furry? I assume it's the dust from toilet paper and kleenex. I think you mentioned to Alice that people don't do as much deep cleaning--I know that's true for me! I'd rather cook than clean and I just seem to lose time/energy/motivation when it comes to deep cleaning.

  3. Lili could you please give me a suggestion on how to froze the small head of leftover cabbage from making stuffed cabbage. The head is small and pretty firm not soft at all. I want to have it to use in your soup recipe. I deep clean at least once a year. I use to have my daughter wash down the bathroom and kitchen spring and summer but she has her own place now so just once a year. I do clean the living room, dining room, and my bedroom twice a year but my dh can go me move the furniture. My husband and I have bad knees so going up and down the ladder to wash walls is hard for us

  4. Hi Live and Learn,
    Is that right? Same curtains -- what are the odds. Must be something about great taste, right?
    I still need to do the doors. I know that will make a big difference. It;'s all of these seemingly little things that make a house look fresh and clean.
    Have a great weekend, Live and Learn.

  5. Hi Kris,
    Great job on making enough for leftovers the next night! Your crockpot Mexican chicken sounds so tasty.
    Oh, I understand now. I also use the rubbing alcohol on the exposed walls of the vent hood above the stovetop, which gets quite greasy. The alcohol works very well on that, so I would assume it would work on your fan blades, too. I miss my electric coil stover top. It was so easy to keep clean.
    Have a great weekend, Kris.

  6. Hi Cheryl,
    For your cabbage -- if It was me, I'd shred it, then steam it briefly in the microwave. That should do what blanching would do. Then freeze the lightly-steamed shreds in bags big enough for adding to soup. When you make the soup, add a bag of frozen shredded cabbage and allow to heat through but not cook any more. It should turn out fine.
    I can understand about going up and down ladders. Kris had a great tip -- to use the Swiffer to clean the walls. Moving furniture is one of the biggest obstacles for me. I'm just not as strong as I once was. Fortunately, I don't think we get our house as dirty as we once did, when kids were little and there were more of us.
    I hope you have a great weekend, Cheryl.


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