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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

How are you making your resources stretch? Let's share, here

Now that COVID-19 is in every state and province to some degree, many of us are under shelter-at-home mandates by our government leaders. And for those of us who are not, the national government is strongly suggesting that if we don't need to be out, to please not be. So, a lot of us are just hunkering down, trying to ride this out while minimizing any trips to the grocery store.  As we could all guess, this means we'll run out of some food supplies before others. 

By sharing how we're managing our resources, we can bolster each other's efforts during this difficult period. I'll start.

1) You know from my post yesterday that I'm using eggs sparingly. Last night I baked a pumpkin pie using 1  1/2 eggs instead of the usual 2 eggs. That 1/2 egg saved may not sound like much. However, I intend to make a dessert for my family using that 1/2 egg instead of the usual whole egg in the next day or two. To compensate for the half egg less, I reduced the milk for the pie by 1/4 cup. The pie set up nicely and was delicious. I'll also add that this was perhaps the least extra flour I've ever used to roll the crust out on the counter. There was no leftover flour after rolling the dough, and I had to very carefully peel the rolled dough off of the stone counter to place in the pie plate. 

2) I made a large chicken and rice casserole using 1 chicken leg quarter (chicken drumstick and thigh) to feed the four of us. 

I didn't have any canned cream soup, so I made my own cream soup, using some of the stock from simmering the chicken, milk, onion and garlic powders, fresh onion and celery, seasonings, and a bit of flour to thicken. 

I simmered the chicken for a couple of hours before taking the meat off the bones. Afterward, I put the bones and skin back into the simmering stock and left it all to cook in the crockpot overnight. 

Your turn. How have you been stretching your resources?

I want to add this: a completely voluntary work-from-home began in the Seattle area almost immediately following the first death in Washington state (and the entire US). That first death was reported over a weekend and by Monday, my husband reported that all of the commuter buses he took to and from work that day were half full (usually standing room only). By the end of the week, the big tech companies were all requesting employees to work from home. By Friday, March 6, the local news had showed photos of downtown Seattle looking deserted. Although our governor mandated we all stay at home just last week, a large percentage of the Seattle population had begun social distancing by mid-March. And now, some experts are suggesting that social distancing may be working, as they can see a flattening of the curve beginning to develop in Washington state. We still have a long ways to go, here. But it has been gratifying to hear that our collective efforts may actually be making a difference in my state. Washington state was hit earlier than other states with COVID-19. So, we've been at this social shutdown for just a tad longer than many regions of the US. 

If you are wondering if staying at home will really make a difference in your area, I'm just saying that your efforts could help flatten the curve so that medical resources could be available to all who need them in your state and not overburden the doctors and nurses in your community. 

Staying at home for my family means that we're not going out except to fill prescriptions (and those we do in the drive-thru at our pharmacy to minimize interaction). We're choosing to do this not only for our own safety, but also to reduce the overall spread of the virus with hopes to spare more lives while we wait for effective treatment or a vaccine.


  1. Yesterday's lunch is a good example. I had a little less than a half gallon jar of homemade chicken broth left. Added this to the intant pot with some chicken bouillon and about a quart of water to make a bit more. Used a small bag of mixed frozen veggies, a small baggie of cut-up chicken from the freezer, the remains of a container of fresh spinach, and 1.5 cups of rice, along with some seasonings. This fed my family of 7 for lunch (aside from oldest daughter who has a textural thing with rice and found herself some lunch) with no leftovers, but those bits of chicken would not have gone that far in most other meals.

    We are supposed to be staying home other than essential errands (groceries, pharmacy) and are doing so. My husband is now allowed to work from home as of this week--he was part of a team setting that up at his work so it took a bit. We'll probably do a grocery pick-up order when needed, maybe next week.

  2. Lili, again, thank you for sharing your experiences. They have truly been invaluable for me. I feel like you and your family are guinea pigs for the rest of us--I continue to be impressed with the research you have done (I heard about bleach expiring from you long before it hit the news in our area) as well as the steps you have taken. It's good to hear that the curve is starting to flatten in your area--I've been trying to keep track of what has been happening in areas hit before our area to get an idea of what to expect as well as see what is working or not working.

    Things continue to ramp up here in Michigan and it's scary. Overall, from what I can tell, people are doing a good job of social distancing in my town, although a report in the news for my county said that the cases they were seeing were mostly due to people gathering in groups for parties in homes. I felt like that should have been headline news as to why we don't want to be doing that! The hospital system I work in has been impressing me with its strategies--I didn't realize it, but about 10 years ago they received a grant for developing a pandemic awareness/strategy and it's certainly paying off. Not that everything is perfect (PPE shortages are a real thing) but where they have been able to be prepared, they have been. There is talk about us getting patients from the hard-hit Detroit area. Not sure how that would work to transport them.

    We have been under a stay-at-home order for a couple of weeks now. I venture out once a week for groceries/prescriptions. We have done our "window visits" with my mom and at my niece's house (she has 2 little ones and I've been trying to drop off something fun for them weekly). I do occasionally drop off supplies for my mom and I have to interact with the person at the door, but we try to keep our distance.

    Offhand, I can't think of specific examples of stretching supplies, other than trying to plan my meals around what we have available and to offer some variety. Trying to be sparing of using yeast, butter, chicken, etc.

  3. We are making foods as economical as we can stretching where we can because I feel like food shortages are in our future. I really need yeast and flour but I have a recipe for no yeast bread and I have some almond and coconut flour. Then we eliminate bread. I think we will need to venture out sometime to get groceries. Perhaps Saturday morning. Not the ideal time but the most convenient.

    We try to eat things like oatmeal for breakfast (we like eggs too but in moderation) a cup of soup for lunch and a bigger meal for supper but that meal has to stretch to two evenings. We supplement with applesauce or rhubarb sauce. My freezer is certainly being utilized and the pantry is being picked through.

    Dad is supposedly coming home Thursday (two days from now) and still there is so much confusion about that. Staples need to come out but the dr. wants to see him in the office though I thought all these non-essential appts. were being postponed. They should have a dr. see him in the rehab. place then discharge him to home for 4 weeks or more. I just don't get what is going on. But they tell him one thing and then the next day everything changes.


  4. I live in PA and parts of the state were in lockdown but for over a week we have also. I don't mind the staying home, with my husband retired we didn't go out much anyway. I get anxious going to a grocery store and my daughter said she'll go for me. By the way please pray for Rachel, our dioceses closed all churches on Sunday. No weddings, baptisms, or even funerals. She has a call in to our small town Mayor to get married on Sunday. She just needs closure. Thank you.

  5. I am so glad that your state has moved swiftly to contain the spread of the virus, in hindsight that was a brilliant call, and model that we should follow. Also, sustained effort until this virus is eradicated. I feel hopeful that everyday brings us closer to finding a vaccine, better testing, and new treatments. We need to each do our small part, the actions of millions of Americans, and globally billions, is ultimately what drives the curve, not only the decisions at the top, though messaging from the top matters greatly.

    We stretch our ingredients by limiting our portions. We decide what and how much is ideal. Our appetites follow. Normally it's somewhat the other way around. Hopefully, a silver lining to our crisis is that we learn better eating habits and frugality. Along with that, knowing we are short on nutrition, we have been taking our multivitamins and calcium supplements daily. I am more mindful of getting some daily outdoor time for Vitamin D. We have been spreading out the "good" meals by inserting some boring beans and rice dishes, actually it's the other way around. We eat beans and rice daily, and treat ourselves to the good stuff when we feel deprived and need some comfort food. I think the motto, KISS, works for us, keeping it simple is easier and better, less use less waste. I'm looking for recipes that use the fewest ingredients. I think making do with less is a mind body adjustment. Like going on a diet, it starts off difficult but sooner or later your body adjusts and helps your mind adjust, as well as the other way around.

    Today, I'm going to ramp up my sewing efforts making masks. As much as I can, I'm going to suspend my slow stitch art projects and devote all my time to sewing masks. My DIL is expecting their fourth child, and she is afraid of going to the clinic without a mask. She is told she has to come alone, to every visit and during childbirth and hospital stay. This pregnancy was totally unexpected and we learned just last night. I had sent pics of the mask prototype I sewed and asked if they were interested, that's when we found out. She is relieved I'm sewing masks since she only has a few N95s. I am so stressed because she is in her 40s and this will not be easy for her.

    Be safe,

  6. Using up some cabbage that overwintered in my garden. Made a coleslaw over the weekend and ended up with more dressing than needed, so just added more cabbage yesterday for another meals' worth of servings.
    I use rice milk and have been watering that down when using.
    I like the egg saving idea, Lili. Thank you for that!
    Anything not eaten gets frozen to supplement a future meal. DH is a bigger eater than me, so sometimes he needs a little extra, and these saved up bits fill his last empty spot.
    Sometimes we have a little cup of turkey or chicken broth as an appetizer to help round out a sparser meal.
    Thank you for sharing the encouragement section at the end - it's good to hear something positive. : )
    God bless all!
    Jo Ann

  7. Hi Cat,
    that lunch you made yesterday sounds delicious as well as filling, while relying very little on the chicken. Bravo! That's the sort of meal that I am using more and more.

    I am so glad that your husband can now work from home -- less chance of contracting this for your whole family.

  8. Hi Kris,
    I've been following what is going on in your state. Watching the numbers tick upwards is so scary. New York was talking about doing the same thing -- transferring patients from the urban areas to the less population-dense area hospitals. I think your governor is on top of this. If I recall correctly, she called for a stay-at-home mandate about the time Washington state's governor did (and Michigan didn't even have the same number of cases and we did at that time). This week will be the sobering week for most Americans. I feel like we'll see fewer of those instances where people disregard social distancing. We've had our share of those folks, too, here.

    I'm trying to spare the butter, as well. I'm making soft butter with oil and salt for spreading on bread/toast, and also have made some garlic oil for drizzling over rice instead of butter.

    Have a good day, Kris.

  9. Hi Alice,
    I'm very glad that your dad will be coming home so soon. I hope he will be super careful once home and ask for help when he needs it. Getting him released sooner than they'd originally thought may be in part based on reducing the population in the nursing care place, and keeping him safe from the virus.

    We've been eating more oatmeal for breakfasts, too. Although I've ordered some flour, it is yet to ship. So I won't feel like we have much flour for bread until I actually have that package. I've had a couple of orders canceled on me, because websites oversold their inventory. If yo do go shopping on Saturday, go very early, wear gloves, and avoid crowded aisles. Picking a store that doesn't usually draw crowds usually means spending a little more money for your groceries. But this might be that one case where spending more is valuable. There's always grocery pick-up as an option, too.

  10. Today I made a batch of Mexican Rice using up some taco sauce that no one was fond on, but couldn't taste it in the recipe, so a win-win. We served this over a few tortilla chips and topped with some cheese. A very affordable and meatless dish to save money and stretch what we have on hand. I made a double batch, so we will use it as a filler for tacos one night this week too.

  11. Hi Cheryl,
    I'll pray for your daughter about her wedding. This must be such a disappointment. Do they have a license from the county yet?
    I'm glad you and your husband can just stay at home right now.

    1. Yes they do, that is one of the reasons she doesn't want to wait. I think it was $65.00 for the licence and she doesn't want to pay again.😀

  12. Hi YHF,
    congratulations on the next grandchild! That's a bright spot in this dark time.
    I've heard that women are being asked to deliver without spouses or other family. It makes sense that your DIL has been asked to come to appts alone. It keeps everyone safer. And because of her age, her doctor is going to take especially good care of her. Hopefully, by the time the baby is due, the worst of this outbreak will be behind us. When does she think she's due? I'll pray for her and her baby's safety in all of this.

    On the virus front, I believe we're very close to having some viable treatment options available. There are several different drugs being trialled right now, many are existing drugs for other diseases that may fight this virus or suppress inflammation so patients have a chance to recover. There are a couple that sound very promising.

    Good luck with your face masks., YHF.

  13. Hi Jo Ann,
    I love the idea of serving some broth as an appetizer before the meal. I'm going to try that for myself. And I also love the idea of freezing small leftovers to add to your husband's meal. I typically have to find something else for my husband's plate, too. Otherwise, I overwhelm him with piles of rice. Very good ideas! Thank you!

  14. Hi Belinda,
    That sounds delicious and a great use of your leftover taco sauce! Doubly wonderful that you can now use the leftovers as taco filling. I'll have to think if there is something similar we can do in my house. There always seems to be some sauce that we don't like and gets pushed to the back of the fridge. Thank you for the idea, Belinda!

  15. Hi Again, Cheryl. Then I would think that there would be some way they could have someone officiate, even by Skype or Facetime. It just seems like there would some way to do this. Good luck to your daughter and fiance on this.

  16. Lili, the due date is October 15. I found some very cute fabrics in my stash, so I'm excited to sew some "maternity/juvenile" masks.

    Cheryl, prayers to your daughter too.


  17. Lili--

    Yes, I've been very grateful for our governor. Her recommendations have been very proactive and have been as well-informed as possible from credible sources. Unfortunately there are factors beyond her control, such as the poverty and poor living conditions in the Detroit area. The latest info from work is that they anticipate a surge in May. Praying that people will all take the stay-at-home orders seriously.

    Belinda, you made me crave Mexican food with your meal description! :)

    Cheryl, prayers for your daughter's wedding and for you all to find a way to celebrate. I sense a beautiful marriage will come out of this season of instability.

    Alice, praying for health for your father and peace in the storm for all of you.


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