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Thursday, August 4, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for a Week That Straddles Two Months

I don't have a single photo for this week's Cheap & Cheerful post. The charging cord for my phone quit on me yesterday. I had taped the breaking plastic cable covering together with duct tape; but even that failed on me. All of my photos are on my phone and the battery is now dead. Anyway, I ordered a new charging cord Thursday morning. It will hopefully be here on Monday. Best part -- it didn't cost me anything out-of-pocket. This cord was for an Apple product. When I was in the checkout, I wondered if my old iTunes gift card might cover the cost. After a lot of searching and playing around, I finally loaded the balance of the iTunes card into my Apple account, then lucked upon the button that allowed me to tap into my Apple account to pay for the cord at the online Apple store. This iTunes card had been a gift that I never used up. So I was thrilled to be able to use it for a new charging cord.

Our meals

sautéed kale
blueberries and raspberries over scratch cake topped with whipped topping

I'd been craving falafel for some time. I think it was really that I was craving something fried. I cooked up a pound of garbanzo beans and used about half of them in the falafel and saved the other half for adding to lunch time salads. This point in summer I try to use and freeze grape leaves as often as we can. In addition to making dolmathes on Friday, I also picked and froze enough grape leaves for a couple of batches in winter. I'll continue picking and freezing grape leaves as more reach the right size, neither too large or too small. I'd like to have enough of these leaves to make stuffed grape leaves twice per month for October through May of next year.

The whipped topping was something my daughters bought for Mother's Day to top strawberry pie. We'd had a half-container sitting in the freezer for a couple of months. Cake and berries sounded like good companions for the whipped topping.

refried beans
homemade flour tortillas
garden salad
sautéed Swiss chard
leftover plain cake

My husband makes the refried beans and tortilla meals in our house. I made the tortillas for many, many years and was happy to have him do them instead. He likes doing the same thing week after week, so this works for both of us. Always tasty.

bean burger patties
kale salad
rhubarb sauce
ice cream (finishing off several different flavors)

I've mentioned that we're still trying to use up the ice cream that had been sitting in the freezers for a couple of years. Whelp, we're still working at that. We are making lots of progress. I had the last slice of ice cream cake, while other family members had confetti ice cream, chocolate fudge brownie, and vanilla bean. There's just a small amount left now. Hopefully we can finish that over this coming weekend.

grilled hamburgers on homemade buns with homemade pickles and garden lettuce
mixed vegetables
sautéed kale
microwave brownies

You know, one of the great things about feeling competent in bread-making is that on a whim I can decide I'll serve burgers or hot dogs and make the buns myself -- no need to run out to the store to get the buns. Plus, I can add some whole wheat flour to the bun dough, making these extra tasty and with a nit more nutrition. The dill pickles were from last summer. how did we manage not to eat the dill pickles this past year? I don't know how that happened, as I love, love, love dill pickles and I didn't make all that many to begin with. 

spaghetti and meat sauce
garden salad
trio of berries

2 nights in a row of beef. I've been extra tired and I was thinking a couple of days of meat in a row might perk me up. I remember thinking after eating dinner that this one tasted especially good to me.

sausage and kale frittata
garden salad
mashed potatoes
blackberry pie

One of my daughters made this dinner (except the pie). I try to keep them cooking one night per week, you know, for their benefit. She did a great job. Again a meal that I thought and commented on how delicious it tasted. I work with them to plan the meals they cook, so we can use things in a way that uses what needs using and doesn't use ingredients that I want to save for another month. I harvest the veggies and fruits for them, so I know that I'm picking the parts that most need using. I've noticed a contrast between what I pick from the garden and what I pick from the store. In the garden, I pick the most aged and worn looking parts of a plant, so they don't get overlooked and go to waste, then allow the younger, more attractive leaves or fruits to be ready another day. In a grocery store, I pick the youngest, most perfect looking pieces of produce and leave the aging ones, because I can. It's perhaps not the best way to shop from the store's perspective, but I think it's what we all do -- take the best looking items and leave the not great ones. Anyway, I thought what a contrast that was from how I choose what to harvest in the garden.

ham and gravy over scratch biscuits
garden green beans
apple wedges
blackberry pie

This was my other daughter's night to cook. And once again, I said several times how delicious it was. The ham in gravy over biscuits was comfort food at its highest level. Gravy over bread product is always my pick for comfort food. It reminds me of the meat and gravy open-faced sandwiches my mom would make, using leftover turkey or beef roast. There's not a restaurant meal around that can match the comfort of a meat and gravy sandwich.

Our early apples are just now ready to pick a few at a time. They're actually still a little tart. However, we have to stay two stepps ahead of the squirrels and raccoons with the apples. As it is, I find an apple or two that's been knocked off the tree every morning. I bring those in, wash, cut off the bad spots, then chop and freeze the apples, skin on. I'll use these apple pieces in crisps this winter.  

You may have noticed, we've added blueberries and blackberries to the raspberries, which only have a few left on the canes. It's nice when the three overlap and I can make desserts using a trio of berries. 

This was the first week of fresh green beans, too. We've reached that point in the season when the garden gives us a greater assortment of fruits and vegetables to work with. Very soon we'll have zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers and beetroot. Our garden is a little slow this year, due to the cool May and June, for those of you who had a warmer spring and early summer and who've been eating zucchini for weeks now.

While we have all this fresh produce in the garden and orchard, I am trying to bulk up all of our meals with fruits and vegetables. We have berries and apples with breakfast, more berries, salad greens, and vegetable soups with lunch, and again more berries, apples, rhubarb, salads, and veggies with our evening meals. My husband (who I never could get to choose vegetables before) now says he likes how his digestion feels eating all of this produce. And I even catch him in the kitchen making salads for himself or finishing off the lentil sprouts many days. It's nice that we can inexpensively add all of this produce to our meals and snacks.

So that's what we ate this week. What was on your menu?

Have a great weekend!


  1. We had mashed potatoes, carrots and roasted chicken legs/thighs and homemade applesauce (found 6 wrinkled apples in the fridge) on Sunday with leftovers on Monday. Spaghetti with spiral noodles and garlic bread, then leftovers from that. Garden vegetable medley with summer squash, onions, garlic, potato, smoked sausage and seasonings. We had big salads with lettuce, carrots, onions, tomatoes, croutons. Beef stir fry with brown rice. I still cook for more than the 3 of us so we always have leftovers. I went to dad's house and told him about the vegetable medley and he said it sounded good so I made him a huge skillet full using some frozen smoky links I found in his freezer. As I was preparing it he called me by my mom's name which doesn't offend me. It just made the moment special because someone made him a meal and it reminded it of days gone by. I suggested he eat half today and save the rest for breakfast or lunch the next day. He ate almost all of it and had maybe 1/2 cup left. I got a thumbs up but I knew the meal was satisfying for him without having to struggle to make it himself.

    Mother in law fell on Monday and broke her ulna and radius so I've been packing up some easy to microwave meals for her to warm up in the microwave since she can't do much with her arm broken. And she can't drive for now either.


    1. Alice, you have a special heart. You take such good care of your aging father and mother-in-law. I so admire you. I'm sure your father really appreciated the good meal.
      I am still waiting for summer squash and tomatoes. One of my favorite garden medley dishes is like what you made but tossed with pasta. I can hardly wait for that dish. hopefully in a week or two.
      I hope your mother-in-law heals quickly. The microwave meals must be really appreciated.
      Have a wonderful weekend, Alice.

  2. You have reminded me that we have an old iTunes card. I should get it out and see if it's still good. My husband thought there was something wrong with his phone charger and might have to get a new one until he figured out that construction dust had worked its way into the hole. It was tedious, but once he got it cleaned, it worked fine.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      A similar ting happened with my son when he was in college. He had a small not smart phone that he kept in his front jeans pocket. Well, it stopped taking a charge. We thought it was the charger and ordered a new one. But that didn't work. He finally figured out that lint from his pocket was accumulating in the charging port and keeping the charger from doing its job. So always a good thing to check if the phone doesn't seem to be taking a charge.
      For your old iTunes card, I have a couple that were gifts to me several years ago. I'm not inclined to buy subscriptions to their music service. So I was really happy to discover I could buy products from the Apple store with the cards. I hope your card still has a balance that you can use for something.

  3. I love falafel - but I've never made it. What recipe did you use?

    Our meals have been from our freezer - trying so hard to use it up. We've had chicken wings, baked potatoes, zucchini, rhubarb custard (which my husband didn't care for, so I'm slowly eating it up); tacos and salad; chicken thighs halal style with rice, salad and zucchini; cuban sandwiches with pork and zucchini; fried rice with leftover pork and zucchini. You can tell that zucchini is in full swing. I have also made several smoothies for dessert using up frozen bananas, peaches and spinach for dessert. I also keep our favorite cookies in the freezer for dessert in the evenings.

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      I loosely followed a recipe from a cookbook from Dean and Deluca. I didn't follow it quite like they recommended, as I charged ahead without reading the instructions. However, I kept the seasonings mostly as they had. What I would do differently next time is add an egg as a binder to hold the bean mixture together better while frying. I really do like falafel, so I'll make more soon.

      Your meals sounds delicious! You're making good use of your zucchini. I know that can be a challenge for most gardeners. Smoothies for dessert is such a great idea. I'll have to do that very soon. Thank you for the idea!

  4. Many Thanks Lili for posting about using your iTunes GC to purchase Apple products. We also have a couple kicking around. Now I can use them for items needed.

    Nice to see the lovely meals your daughters are creating.

    It’s wonderful when someone takes the items you want used up and creates something. It nourishes mind and bodies, teaches skills and frees up the most valuable of commodities. Time!!

    You are doing the best you can Alice at being a caregiver. How lovely you were able to spend the time creating a memorable meal with your father.

    Aww…Alice you are a blessing to your MIL. Your acts of service are like receiving jewels in a crown❤️

    1. Hi Teresa,
      Oh good! I'm glad to hear you will now be able to use your iTunes gift cards. It wasn't straightforward, like getting to the checkout page and entering the gift card number. As I recall, I had to load the gift card into my Apple account for iTunes. Then on one of the checkout pages, at the very bottom, I found the button that allowed me to sign in to my Apple account for a second time and use my Apple account balance (from iTunes) as part of my payment. In my case, it was all of my payment.
      Best of luck to you!


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