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Thursday, April 7, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers Provided by My Daughters

I've been baking more this week. I made a blackberry pie,
3 loaves of bread, and a batch of brownies.

More of my daughters' dinners . . .

If you missed it, my daughters are cooking dinners for the entire month of April (except Easter) as my birthday gift (later this month). Earlier this week I reviewed my daughters' first four dinners for the month of April. I'll briefly mention those then move on to the rest of the week.

Homemade pizza, using a scratch crust and canned spaghetti sauce, greens from the garden with shredded cabbage for a salad with scratch dressing, carrot sticks.

Hummus, made with canned garbanzo beans, crackers, carrot and cucumber sticks.

Meatball sandwiches, using commercial frozen meatballs, rest of canned spaghetti sauce and shredded cheese from the pizza, hotdog buns (instead of pricier sub sandwich buns), plus steamed carrots and canned green beans in a sauce of cream of mushroom soup.

Homemade bean and vegetable soup, graham cracker and peanut butter "sandwiches", sautéed turnip greens from the garden with onions.

the rest of the week. . .

tacos, frozen corn, garden greens salad (radish greens, watercress and sorrel), blackberry pie
My daughter used some of the frozen meatballs (Sunday's meatball subs) to quickly make the meat filling in the tacos. She used the vegetable masher to break the meatballs up in a pot and seasoned with spices from our spice cupboard. I baked the pie earlier today, using frozen blackberries from last summer's foraging and scratch pie pastry I keep in the freezer.

vegetarian burrito bowls with brown rice, pinto beans, corn, canned tomatoes, cheese, and salsa, plus sautéed kale and onions, and blackberry pie. A simple meal. but tasty and filling.

tuna salad, celery sticks, garden greens salad (radish greens, watercress, sorrel), crackers, my favorite scratch brownies. The brownie recipe is a microwave recipe, but I baked them in the regular oven today. I substituted vegetable oil for the butter -- worked great. To bake this recipe in a regular oven, bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. I like the texture that a standard oven helps these develop, a bit more chewy on the edges than when microwaving.

Although my daughters purchased a few convenience items (meatballs, crackers, canned garbanzo beans), I think their meals still qualify as cheap & cheerful.

Interesting breakfasts this week -- I had made a large batch of steel cut oats in the crockpot that didn't seem to interest anyone. With leftovers growing older, I decided to remake the leftover oatmeal in a pot on the stove. I added maple extract, butter, and brown sugar to the oatmeal and heated thoroughly. This did the trick and the steel cut oats got eaten finally. We also had toast, yogurt, fruit, juice, milk, eggs, and cheese.

Lunches included more soup, this time chive and potato soup, twice. We enjoy it, and we're using up the frozen chives. Also there were toasted cheese sandwiches, peanut butter and peanut sandwiches (extra crunchy this way), fresh and dried fruit, carrot sticks, cabbage salads, juice, eggs, corn tortillas, lentils & rice, and leftovers.

What was on your menu this past week?


  1. Lili, that pie looks absolutely perfect!! Definitely prize winning gorgeous! Bet it tasted amazing! Your daughters meals sounded so appetizing and very well rounded. How nice and how fun!
    I will try to remember some f our meals. Chili Soup, brats and kraut, tacos, butter beans with a bit of ham plus cornbread, venison tenderloin, chicken cottage pie . That's only six but I am drawing a blank. Some sides were collards, green beans, onion rings, salad, slaw. I fruit salad and dessert crepes for the desserts in the week.
    I have been trying to use up things I froze or canned last year as hoping it won't be long before I can start harvesting things this year. But, alas, spring isn't coming nearly as quickly as I'm hoping. The rhubarb is up and I am eyeing it daily. That and asparagus will probably be the first we can harvest. We also like to mushroom hunt and it is nearing time for that. I am so ready for true springlike temps to be here!

    1. Hi Linda,
      Your meals sound delicious! What is chicken cottage pie? I haven't heard of that before.
      I can relate to trying to use up preserved produce from last year's garden. I'm doing well on the frozen items, not as well on some of the home-canned. Mushroom hunting sure sounds like fun. I would love to go mushroom hunting with someone who is knowledgeable.

  2. You and your daughters make a great team. They do the dinners and you do the baking. I wonder if everyone's schedules could keep up some version of this after April?

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      That would be wonderful if we could do this a week or two per month. I may broach the subject with them. Thank you for the suggestion!

  3. I do sense a bit of 20ish flair to the dinners!! And they have done a great job keeping the costs down. Using the leftover meatballs in tacos was smart.

    We used convenience food too this week. I bought clearance cheese tortellini from Costco. My husband mixed that with pesto (frozen batch), leftover olives from pizza making on Sunday, and our garden wild currant tomatoes, tossed with olive oil and spices. With that we reheated frozen leftover pizza slices, and prepared side dish red amaranth called Een choy. Had this for two lunches. Ate out on Tuesday, bought two $5 bentos. I had fish and husband had fried chicken. There are so many cheap food take outs everywhere on the island. We treat ourselves to something whenever we have an errand or shopping. I can't recall Monday. We eat just two meals, breakfast and lunch. It's always a concern whether we are getting enough nutrition. I try to add condiments like ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, quinoa, ground walnuts to our cereals and breads, cottage cheese with fruits. Protein is a concern too. I read that as we get older we need more protein than ever to keep our muscles healthy.

    Have a great weekend,

    1. Hi Laura,
      I think you're smart to consider whether or not you're getting all of the nutrients you need and adding some high nutrient condiments to meals. What I've found for myself is that as I age, there is less room for treat foods and I have to really focus on eating healthy at every meal. Thank you for mentioning that about protein. I know I am often low on protein and I should be more deliberate about my protein consumption.
      I've never seen red amaranth in the stores. It sounds like it would be pretty as well as nutritious.

    2. I don't see En Choy (Chinese red spinach) in markets too. We bought the seeds once and now it grows like weed. After a big rain little seedlings pop up everywhere. It doesn't take long to grow and is used in place of spinach. The only negative is it bleeds a beet color which is not always pretty.

  4. My husband would say we could have pie for dinner. Or breakfast, or lunch .... he loves pie. :)

    I'm glad your daughters are doing such a thoughtful thing for you, and that your love of baking is revitalized. I think I will push my kids to do more cooking this summer! I always have them do the housecleaning in the summer--it's a good teaching tool for them, and gives me a break from a not-so-favorite activity.

    This has been an odd week for us. We ended up spending an extra night in Michigan's upper peninsula after going on a planned trip to visit my son. We couldn't get to the lower peninsula due to ice falling from the bridge that connects the two bodies of land. My son suggested a pizza place for Sunday's dinner and a very friendly patron noticed me looking at the menu and steered me toward a well-priced meal selection with pizza, salad, breadsticks, and a 2 liter of pop (soda .... ) and it was a tasty meal. Monday we had the leftover soup that I had planned for Sunday's meal, along with cream biscuits I made from heavy cream that needed to be used up. Can't remember Tuesday's meal. Wednesday I made peanut chicken and rice. Yesterday I had a medical procedure so I have no idea what my family ate--I had some cereal and crackers and cheese at odd intervals but wasn't hungry for anything big. I think we are having a different soup that I pulled from the freezer tonight.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I hope you've recovered from you medical procedure and are back to normal now. Those are never fun.
      What a kind person in the pizza shop to help you find a family deal! Even though you were stranded on the UP for an extra day, at least you got more time with your son. And good for you for planning in advance what you'd have for dinner on your returning night! I try to do that but sometimes I'm too busy getting everything ready to travel that I don't have the time or foresight to plan that dinner ahead of time.

  5. I'm late to the game to let's see if I can remember.

    Roasted pork twice this week. Rotisserie chicken I purchased on discount about 6 weeks ago that I froze. I put it in my instant pot and had a nice chicken dinner with fried potatoes and onions and green beans. I thawed a cheese/broccoli soup that we put over baked potatoes. Also thawed a taco soup that we're eating for lunches. Some sides were peas and carrots, green beans, cabbage, brussel sprouts. I made a peach cobbler and a loaf of bread. There must be more but I can't even remember. I have no more frozen meals or soups in the freezer so I have to think of things this week to make. My husband and I watched over mom this morning so dad could have breakfast with his siblings. We took the time to deep clean is refrigerator/freezer. He hates it when I do this stuff. Last week I cleaned his kitchen sink, his range, microwave and his bathroom sink and toilet and he thinks that I don't think he does a good enough job. Not true. But while mom is so sick right now things are not as sanitary as they should be and that is something I don't mind doing. Next thing is to dust because lately there seems to be a lot more dust (perhaps oxygen machine is doing this). Then we went home and cleaned our own house. That's what Saturdays look like for us.

    1. Alce, I experienced the same thing with my father...when I did things around their home, he said it made him feel like I thought he wasn't taking good enough care of Mom or the house. You know that isn't true! Keep doing what you're doing and be kind to yourself! You are going through some really challenging and heart wrenching times! I just want to hug you! Do the next right thing and love them both while you can. You will never, ever regret it!!

    2. Thank You, Linda! That's exactly what we're doing. Today, we fixed some trim dad had on top of wainscoating kind of like where a chair pushes up against the wall. He hated that we put it together and nailed it in. It just takes a few minutes that he doesn't really have right now. So my husband and I took the time to set it in place and nail it in. Done. He seemed to be glad the job was done.

    3. Hi Alice,
      I echo Linda's thoughts. This is such a difficult aspect of life to go through, watching our parents decline. I'm glad that you can be of help to your parents right now. I hope you are also setting aside time to rest and relax yourself. Your home cooked meals are one way to care for yourself. The peach cobbler sounds absolutely delicious! Wishing you a week of calm this week. And you're still in my prayers.


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