Stay Connected

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Planning a Tea Using What I Have on Hand

I told you yesterday that one daughter wanted a cook-out for a birthday meal. The other daughter chose a tea. In addition to baking hot dog buns and graham crackers, I have been preparing foods that would work for a tea. Here's our menu:

cup of tomato-basil soup
scratch scones
banana bread and cream cheese sandwiches
egg salad and watercress sandwiches on homemade white bread
watermelon rind pickles
fruit salad
chocolate mint patties
tea and punch

I made the tomato-basil soup from canned tomato paste and frozen basil. The scones are an easy, but good, scratch recipe. I baked a loaf each of banana bread and white bread from scratch. Watercress is growing in our garden right now. The watermelon rind pickles are from last summer's canning. The fruit salad was made with a banana, an orange, and an apple. And the chocolate mint patties were made with melted dark chocolate chips with a couple of drops of peppermint oil stirred in to flavor.

With twins sharing  birthday, it's been a balancing act trying to met each of their expectations. Dividing up the meals and allowing each to choose what they wanted seemed like a good way to go for our current circumstances.

Happy birthday to my darling daughters! And for the rest of us -- happy St. Patrick's Day!


  1. Sending warm Birthday wishes for your daughters!


  2. Sending warm birthday wishes to your two lovely daughters!!

    Your planning and creative skills shine in times like these, fortunately but unfortunately (that it is being tested in crisis). I am not a good planner. This year I tried for the first time in years to use a daily planner, and two months into the year, I stopped using the planner daily. However, I do junk journal my days, my thoughts, momentos, my craft discoveries. I guess that speaks of where my heads at. This is why my physical standards are so low, which also is a blessing in this crisis lol

    Have a great and safe day,

  3. What a lovely menu! Everything sounds delicious. Happy birthday to your daughters! I hope you all have a wonderful day!


  4. Has anyone heard from Ruthie? She had a surgery recently. I've been praying for her, and hope she is doing well. I'd like to know how she is doing.


  5. Happy Birthday to your daughters and warm wishes from me in NY. I was reading Reddit and a post included this link for frugal cooking during war. This book is an interesting read and may help in these times.

  6. Ooh, such a yummy day at your house, Lili. There are so many ways we can make people smile if we put our minds to it--thanks for inspiring me to do the same! Happy birthday to both of your girls!

    Angie, I was also wondering about Ruthie. Alice also hasn't commented lately. I'm not sure I'm remembering everyone by name to pray for them, so I'm sending up a blanket prayer for all those friends and family who need it now.

    I've decided to bake cut-out cookies today and have pulled out spring/Easter cookie cutters (which I haven't used in years!). It will give my kids something fun to do and I plan on delivering a plate (using social distancing) to my niece's family as they have been dealing with illness (not the Covid variety) lately.

  7. Thank you, Shleby. I'll pass your birthday wishes on.

  8. Thank you, YHF, for the birthday wishes for my daughters!
    Your comment made me smile, because I am terrible at maintaining something like a daily planner, too. But I'm good at planning singular events.
    I'd love to see photos of your junk journals sometime. Just curious, are any of your grandkids also creative spirits, like you?
    Have a great day, YHF!

  9. Thank you, Angie! I'll pass on the good wishes!

  10. Angie, I haven't heard from Ruthie, either. I pray her surgery went well and she is recuperating nicely. Thanks for reminding us of Ruthie and her surgery.

  11. Hi Robin,
    Thank you! I'll check out that link. I think you're right -- wartime or even Great Depression cooking will apply for many of us as our supplies dwindle some.
    Also, thanks for the birthday wishes for my daughters. I'll pass them on!

  12. Hi Kris,
    Do you remember what country Alice's daughter is living in/teaching in? I've been concerned about her, too. This must be worrisome for her. Also, her husband just had major surgery last fall/late summer. I hope he is completely recovered now. I pray she is well and just busy right now.

    Cut-out cookies sound like a fun way to spend the day with your kids and productive in making a treat for your niece. Do your kids have school work that they are doing from home? Some of our districts moved to online learning, but others couldn't provide equal access for all students, so teachers are still working on getting materials to students.

    Stay well, Kris.

  13. Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all!
    And happy birthday to your daughters!
    The tea sounds absolutely scrumptious : )
    Thanks for your tips in the last comment section, Lili. Yes, I can eat eggs.
    Jo Ann

  14. I am not "creative" but I like making stuff. My granddaughter is crafty, in fact my junk journal journey began in the summer of 2017 when I researched paper craft projects on the internet. She's made a junk journal herself, and she passes on unwanted craft supplies to me knowing I craft with anything. I taught my grandsons to knit, which they found fun. I doubt they are still knitting today, but they all took home knitting needles and yarn because they enjoyed it so much.

    I'll email some pictures of the micro size junk journals I make. I am not a journaler or diary keeper so this size is perfect for me, one kernel of thought or creation a day. No layout issues. I wanted to record my days for 'future me' when I grow older and can't craft. I see myself turning the pages and hopefully remembering writing and making this.

  15. Kris, you are right, I don't think I've seen anything from Alice since last week. I hope all is well with Alice and her family.


  16. Hello everyone,

    Alice here! I'm alive and well. Just like everyone else normal life has a new normal. I've been trying to get my work set up at home which has been very difficult but OK for the moment. Hubby is doing well. He works part time and I'm surprised they still have him working (he works as a third party for mail services. Daughter in Honduras is home in her apartment for 2-3 weeks just like us and trying to teach remotely via online lessons, exams, etc. She stocked up on a little bit of food (what she could get that didn't require refrigeration) and has plenty of water for now. The country has curfews most of the day. People may go out but not more than 2 people per vehicle and you will be stopped and questioned where you are going and why. Deliberate power outages by the country to keep the citizens from knowing too much around the world.

    I even went to the grocery store today and there was plenty of food but no toilet paper. We're not going to panic because we're comfortable and have plenty to eat. My office is in the basement where it is chilly and the kitty litter box is close by (yuck) but my computer needed an ethernet connection since wireless did not work (special things on my computer and it's not a laptop). The days are long for right now.


  17. Lili--

    I am drawing a blank as to where Alice's daughter is. I was very concerned about her husband as he has had so many health struggles lately.

    Not all the kids in our district have internet access, so at this time, online classwork is not mandatory. My son has several honors/AP classes so he has assignments to work on. My daughter's art teacher has given her projects. She has several projects that have been entered into area art fairs and we received word that one has an honorable mention, but it's looking unlikely that there will be any events re-scheduled. That's been a disappointment, as has been the cancellation of a concert my son was supposed to play in with a local concert winds band in our area .... but I've been proud of how well they are handling their disappointments and they have been keeping themselves productively busy. My son is working toward his Eagle Scout so this has given him extra time to pursue that!

  18. Hi Alice.

    It's good to hear you are well! I'm so glad you can work from home now, although it would definitely be an adjustment. Do you get to talk to your daughter often? You must be anxious for her. That's crazy about the power outages.

    Here in Ohio, we started Thursday with the disappearing toilet paper. That has continued, but now it is many more things. There haven't been any known cases YET in my area, so people are still out trying to stock up on items. I'm still working so I've been out this week trying to pick up items we can use. Yesterday, my Walmart was out of cough drops, cold medicine, liquid hand soap, sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, pain relievers/fever reducers, toilet paper, paper towels, most laundry soap, bottled water, almost all butter, almost all milk, eggs, luncheon meats, sliced cheeses, disinfectants/cleaners. Despite reassurances from President Trump about supplies, this continues. I found milk at Dollar General yesterday. The cashier told me they received a shipment of toilet paper and it was gone before it had been on the shelves for long.

    I'm also trying to adjust to the new normal. My office is small, with 8 employees. I've been told we will not close unless ordered. My husband is in food delivery, so I'm guessing that will continue. (?) This week is very heavy for him! My oldest son works for a National Trucking company, in customer service, and he has been told they will most likely be there unless ordered. They might be able to work from home with laptops if needed. My youngest son is in a heating and air apprenticeship, which as of now is being treated as necessary, so I'm not sure if that will continue. We are all trying to do our best, wash our hands, use sanitizer, etc.

    I'm worried about my parents, who are in their 70's. They are staying home unless they have a necessary appointment. Our restaurants closed for dine-in Sunday night, and almost everything else closed yesterday (fitness clubs, libraries, etc). Driving to Kroger at lunch today was almost eerie, it's like a ghost town.

    I heard in Ohio's daily update that we have 67 known cases today, up from 50 yesterday. I've heard speculation that this could go on until July or August. I'm praying it's over much sooner!

    I've rambled enough. Take care.


  19. I am recovering from my surgery quite well. Last Tuesday I had part of my lung removed due to a cancerous node. The surgeon removed surrounding tissue and lymph nodes and found them to be clear. I am so grateful.

    I can't tell you how shocked I was over this lung cancer diagnosis. I have never smoked a day in my life. The Dr. told us that Utah has the highest lung cancer rate of non smokers and that the main target is women ages 50 - 60ish. Radon seems to be the culprit.

    Our home doesn't have a basement and has lots of windows, so I felt we were okay. After doing a simple radon test, some rooms in our home are high. And even if your neighbor's home isn't high, your's could still be. So we are looking at a solution to this right now

    Thank you to all for your kind thoughts and prayers.

  20. Hi, Lili--

    Hope today's going GREAT! It's a lovely menu. Hope the weather cooperates for the cook-out. (I don't know how intrepid you guys are. LOL)

    Banana bread was on the cooking schedule here, too. I was looking for something I could make and freeze for a treat for DH, and I had two old bananas perfect for bread. I had forgotten how few ingredients my recipe takes -- no milk, 1 egg -- so it was perfect for my conservation plan. It haven't tasted it, because it's resting, but it smelled wonderful. I also made big batches of split pea soup and granola from ingredients I happened to have on-hand.

    Turning some of my mismatched ingredients into some yummy dishes for the freezer was a good way to keep busy and also to keep my attitude turned from what's going wrong to what I can make go well.

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you, as well as all my other family and friends as we work through this difficult time all over the continent (and world.) Keep hanging in there, everybody! Sara

  21. Ruthie and Alice, thanks for dropping in! It's so heartwarming to realize what a close-knit community we are. And Lili, thanks for making it all possible.

  22. Ruthie,

    I am so glad you are recovering well from your surgery, and glad that the surgeon was able to remove all of the cancer. Wow, lung cancer from radon. We just never know any more. Good luck finding a solution with the radon.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  23. Hi jo Ann,
    Thank you. I'll pass on the birthday wishes to my daughters!
    I was grateful to have those rice flour pancakes at the time. This was nearly 30 years ago, and grocery stores simply didn't have gluten-free or dairy-free alternatives. The eggs seemed to hold the non-glutinous flour together. Good luck with this!

  24. Hi Alice,
    thank you for "checking in" with us. As you can see, we've all been thinking of you and your family. A home office sounds like it's probably the best for right now, even if it has to be in the basement. At least you don't have to commute for the time being.
    It sounds like your daughter has quite a challenging situation to deal with. I would imagine that her time in Honduras has strengthened her in ways that we can't imagine. I'll say a prayer for her, too.
    I am glad that you are well-supplied for now. The toilet paper issue should resolve soon, as everyone sees that they indeed have enough TP to get through a couple or few months and stores restock their shelves.
    Stay safe and well, Alice.

  25. Hi YHF,
    I'll check my email. I'm a bit behind in email this week, but am looking forward to seeing your junk journals. I suspect that you are much more creative than you believe. I enjoy making stuff, too. I've always been like that.

  26. Hi Kris,
    well it sounds like your kids will be able to find quite a lot with which to occupy themselves. That's neat that your daughter likes art and enters shows. One of my daughters is using this period to work on paintings, so she thinks this break from working is fantastic. I hope your daughter can spend some time with her art as well.
    I can understand the disappointment for your son and playing in concerts. I have a good in-person friend whose son is a senior in high school and plays in the band. All performances and practices are now canceled for the year because it's unlikely our local kids will go back to school for any length of time this year. Hopefully, the work on Eagle Scout stuff will be a good distraction for your son.

  27. Angie,
    this seems like our world changed overnight, with stores running out of so many basic supplies, businesses closing, and not knowing how long anyone will be stuck at home. This is a test of faith, to be sure.
    I pray you and your family will be kept safe through all of this.

  28. Hi Ruthie,
    I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but thankful for your skilled surgeon. I had never heard that about SLC and radon. I will continue to pray for your recovery. I can imagine the shock. Take good care of yourself in this recovery period.

    On another SLC topic -- did you feel the earthquake? I had always heard that the SLC area was on a fault, but I had never heard of an actual earthquake there. I pray all is well with your neighborhood.
    Take good care and we'll be thinking about and praying for you, Ruthie.

  29. Hi Sara,
    thank you. Yes, the cook-out went well and it was warm enough (unlike our last attempt, ha ha). I think it was right around 50 degrees F, but with a fire going it felt warm enough.

    It sounds like you're keeping yourself very productive and busy. I agree -- banana bread is a great baked treat when supplies are limited. My recipe does call for 1/2 cup of milk, but I just used the rinsings from jars of homemade yogurt, plus a little water. Worked fine. Yum, split pea soup sounds delicious right now.

    Praying that you'll stay safe and well, Sara!

  30. Hi, Lili--

    Yes, 50 ought to be warm enough with a fire. I'm so glad! Sounded like fun, and looked delicious!

    Just in case you or anyone else can benefit from this -- The newer BHG New Cookbook (not the one we all had in the 80s, which I gave my copy of to DS 1) banana bread recipe is: 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 egg, 1 cup bananas, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup oil, plus lemon zest and/or nuts. I did have milk on-hand, and only 2 bananas, so I filled the rest of the 1 cup measurement of bananas with a little milk; but it's nice to have a recipe for dessert that doesn't take any. :)

    Speaking of milk, or the lack thereof, I've found that I can make buckwheat pancakes and a few other baked goods which call for milk with water, and still get a nice product. That's super-convenient, and thrifty! I do have non-fat dried milk, but I forget to use that more often than if I had canned milk (which I usually do but don't now.)

    Hang in there, everybody! Sara

  31. Hi Sara,
    Thanks for the banana bread recipe.
    Over the years, I've found that I prefer pancakes that are made with half milk and half water. They seem to be lighter. So, unless I am trying to get someone to consume more milk (protein, calcium needs), then I just go with the half water/half milk. Thanks for letting us know of your own findings with water in place of milk. I suspect that I may be doing a lot of that in another month.


Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post