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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers the First Full Week of August


sausage, mushroom and basil pizza, frozen peas, rhubarb jello 

Funny thing, when my husband first saw the plate, he asked if the pink rectangle was Spam. I laughed. He took a bite, then realized it was a fruit jello. It does look a bit like Spam though, doesn't it? I made the jello around noon and wanted it to set quickly, so I poured it into a shallow baking dish -- spreading it out to firm up faster. We ran out of pepperoni, so I had to improvise. This turned out to be a very delicious pizza, and I plan on replicating it again soon.



bean and beef burritos, steamed kale, fresh blackberries, graham cracker-peanut butter frosting sandwich cookies

I was starting to feel not quite well this evening. My husband made the burritos and steamed the kale. I normally try and find more in the garden to go with meals, but as I said, I just wasn't feeling great. The burritos were delicious. I picked a handful of cilantro for my husband to add to the beef and bean filling. The cilantro really made these amazing, even without any cheese in the burritos. My two daughters went out blackberry picking for us in the afternoon and brought several more quarts of fresh, free blackberries. My pillow-size bag is filling up!

kale and sausage frittata, rice, steamed garden green beans

This was the worst night for me. I've had terrible allergies for 2 weeks, and I subsequently developed a sinus infection. I took extra good care of myself all day and evening, taking my zinc, quercetin, vitamin C, vitamin D, sipping orange juice alternating with chicken broth and tea, and rested. Again my husband made dinner which I ate in bed before turning in early for the night. I woke up the next morning about 90% better. Anyway, the dinner was absolutely delicious.

Monday -- hotdog cookout
hot dogs in homemade buns, garden kale, garden green beans, garden raspberries, s'mores

The day was a beautiful summer one, and the day before a new storm system was to roll in, bringing mostly clouds and a bit of drizzle. Since it was so nice, I planned a cookout for dinner. I made a batch of hotdog buns early in the day and melted chocolate chips to form patties to use for s'mores after the dinner. I also harvested produce from the garden to put the rest of dinner together. We all enjoyed sitting around the fire ring for an hour while cooking our dogs and eating. One daughter thanked me for making a nice summer evening for the family. I was grateful to have knocked the sinus infection down so quickly and feel much better.



chicken-kale-pasta skillet dish, apple wedges, cream of sorrel and squash blossom soup

Why does macaroni shaped pasta scream "budget"? Macaroni and spaghetti are always the least expensive shapes for me to buy. I wished I'd had a more upscale pasta shape for this dinner, like a penne. But macaroni is what I had, so I went with it. I used garden kale, herbs and garlic, plus canned tomatoes, a chicken breast, and the pasta. I was going to stir in the Parmesan cheese, but then I recalled how the cheese always sticks to the pan, which means some never gets eaten. So instead, I topped each serving with the Parmesan. My sorrel is still doing really well, which is remarkable for August. I'm trying to use it regularly, but have limited ways to use it. I make soup and use the leaves in salad. It's a perennial that does well in my garden, so I keep it. Tonight's soup also incorporated some squash blossoms. I added those for a "yellow" vegetable. I don't feel we've had enough yellow vegetables in recent weeks. Yep, those things stick in my mind. Our early apples are abundant but small. I try to use them daily.



meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, sautéed zucchini, kale salad, apple wedges, rhubarb pie

I'm very proud of how both daughters' cooking skills have grown. One daughter made this dinner. She's been asking me to teach her some of my recipes. She keeps a bullet journal and logged the recipe for meatloaf a while ago. She was proud that she could do this all herself without having to ask me anything. She made all of the dinner, except the pie. Pie is mostly "my thing" in this household. Oh and I harvest the vegetables, as I'm the one who knows what's ready and where to look.



hummus, crackers, lentil sprout slaw, garden green beans, garden apples, leftover rhubarb pie

Thursday's dinner was another daughter's work. She and I had planned a menu that would be quick and easy to make after a long day away from the house. Today was the day both daughters gave me my birthday gift, belated. I'd asked for a day with the two of them in the small town near the beach in our area. We walked along the beach, admired pretty shells that had washed ashore (it was very low tide), watched a heron as he caught and ate a fish, walked up to the town and went into a couple of shops, bought pastries at the family-owned bakery, came home and had lunch on the grass in our backyard, then finished the afternoon with a walk in the next neighborhood over, checking out all of the summer flowers. It was beautiful and sunny -- a perfect day. In the shops -- they bought a bar of lavender soap from the lavender store and a couple of rubber stamps from the art store for me. They also bought the pastries and lunch supplies. A lovely day, with my two lovely daughters, and all at no expense to me. One of my daughters is currently illustrating a children's book with an ocean setting. She mentioned that she needs to go back to the beach for reference drawings again soon. Guess who will be tagging along?

One day over the weekend, I made brunch on the deck for my husband and daughters, as we were all here and available. I made blueberry pancakes (blueberries from our garden), bacon, mixed fruit juice, lentil sprout and carrot top slaw. The fruit juice was a combo of the last of the orange juice, some heavy syrup from canned peaches, and the liquid from thawed and drained frozen blueberries, saved when making muffins a few weeks ago. We don't have any plans for a vacation away from home this summer. Instead, I'm trying to make special occasions and meals for our family.

I haven't been grocery shopping inside a store in a month. I'll need to go out for milk, eggs, and bananas tomorrow. While not shopping in-person, I have been ordering some pantry staples to be shipped, restocking my emergency pantry. In those orders, I bought coffee, peanut butter, peanuts, more cocoa powder, and all-purpose flour. We seem to plow through the coffee, cocoa powder, and peanut butter. I guess being home so much means that all of our coffee is made at home, I need to bake treats on the reg., and we have peanut butter sandwiches a whole lot.

So, that was my week and the meals we enjoyed. What was on your menu this past week?


  1. Such good, nutritious and lovely meals, Lili! This week was tough for cooking for me. Very, very busy moving my daughter to live with my son which is closer to her new school where she will be teaching. Out of town kids came for last weekend and we just were super busy and no time for meal planning. Some of the things we had was KFC copycat bowls twice, copycat hamburger helper stroganoff, homemade cucumber pickles, homemade tomato soup twice once with grilled cheese the other time with BLTs. I have little to no lunch lately and breakfasts have been oatmeal or an egg with toast but very limited food consumption this past week.


    1. Hi Alice,
      It sounds like you've been very busy lately. I'm so glad your out of town kids could come for a visit. I can imagine you all just enjoyed each other's company and didn't worry about what you ate so much.
      Have a wonderful and restful weekend.

  2. The day at the beach sounds wonderful-the perfect gift. I'm glad your sinus infection was better so you could enjoy it fully.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      It was the perfect gift. And yes, I was so grateful that my sinus infection improved so quickly.
      Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. I'm super excited for your daughter's book illustrations! Going to the beach sounds like a great research project to me!

    This has been an odd week for us and meals have been largely leftovers. I worked today and didn't have energy to pull together a meal, so my husband had leftover pulled pork in the freezer, which he thawed and reheated to make sandwiches with. Yesterday was my beach day--an old friend and her kids drove out to spend the day with me and my daughter/daughter's friend, so our dinner was reheated burgers (are you sensing a theme??). Husband and I went to a church potluck/outreach meeting so I took cookies. It was hosted by people who have a house on an inland lake so we gathered on their patio overlooking the lake at sunset--so peaceful! On Tuesday, I was supposed to go to dinner with friends, but that got cancelled, so my family and I went to a local Italian restaurant for dinner--it was a request of my son's before he leaves for college so I'm glad we could do that. I actually cooked on Monday! Made sweet/sour chicken in the crockpot.

    Your daughter's gift was the best kind of gift--a fun day together!

    1. Hi Kris,
      I'm excited for my daughter's career, too. This is her 3rd book. Her second one came out in 2021, but is not in stock (at least on Amazon). But here's a link to its cover: Her name is in the lower right corner of the cover.

      I don't know what your daughter's plans and desires for a career are, but I know you've mentioned she is artistic. My own daughter was an art major in college and in the summers, she worked as an artist at the zoo. She met this author while working and it led to this job. So, as your daughter gets older, she may want to check around for summer jobs like doing caricatures or letter brush at fairs or the zoo or an amusement park. My daughter worked for one of the companies that does various art at these sort of venues. They look for artistic young people and train them to do various fair-type art work. This gave my daughter some experience "selling" herself and provided opportunities for more advanced projects like illustrating books. My daughter's current book is with the same author, and she hopes to work with him on more projects in the future.

      Anyway, back to meals. I love how your meals all just kind of worked out for you. Of course, advanced preparation in the form of making extras when cooking and freezing, was the key! Good job.
      Have a great weekend!

    2. Thank you for telling me about your daughter's work experiences. It's so interesting how one thing has led to another, jobwise, for her. I'm not sure what direction my daughter's future plans will take her--right now she's leaning towards a job with conservation--but I think her artistic abilities could enhance all sorts of career options. I'm in a busy phase right now but hope to check out your daughter's artwork soon.

  4. I'm a bit slow catching up these days. Had company for a week, went out of town for the weekend and my daughter is now here for a couple of days so my time online has been quite limited.

    Lily, I thought that jello salad was Spam too. I wondered why you needed Spam along with pizza, so I chuckled when I read your comments.

    Congrats to your daughter and her illustrations! She's off to a great start.

    Meals lately included burgers, pork chops, chicken curry, chicken salad and leftovers. I rounded out with tomatoes from the garden and sides made from what I had on hand like slaw, baked potatoes, roasted potatoes, rice pilaf and salads. I had some strawberries and cherries I'd purchased on sale and added them to my blueberries for fruit. Still envious of those blackberries! They would have been good in my berry medley :)

    Hope everyone has a good week. Lynn

    1. Hi Lynn,
      You've been busy! Despite having company and now your daughter, you're doing great with your meals. They sound delicious and just what hits the spot in summer. Your fruit salad with the cherries, blueberries, and strawberries -- yum!
      I hope you're having a great week!


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