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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers Even When I Feel Lackluster

I'm sorry I haven't been posting this week. I'm just tired. I usually catch a cold about this time of year, shortly after the holidays. This year I didn't. But the holidays still tired me. And its all caught up to me this week. When I'm tired, I feel lackluster and boring, nothing to blog about. I did keep track of what we ate this week, though. Even when I'm boring, I can still make note of meals and share those. 

I also included some photos from our yard and nearby. It's turned cold and very wet this week, with highs in the low to mid-40s and puddles everywhere. Despite the less-than-wonderful weather, I push myself to get outdoors each day. I would rather stay inside where it's warm and comfy. But getting outside, even when it's raining, is better for my overall mood.

My son and daughter-in-law gave me this hummingbird feeder
for Christmas and I already have a "regular" hummer visiting.
He/she visits several times per day.


scratch pepperoni, mushroom, olive pizza (using up those olives that had been lingering in the fridge since Thanksgiving) 
roasted Brussel sprouts
gingered fig-applesauce

This was the evening we took down the Christmas tree. We always wait until after Epiphany, and then have to find a night that works for the whole household. We played Christmas music while eating our pizza by the Christmas tree one last time.


bean burritos
canned green beans

The garlic that I planted in October is just now coming up!


TVP, eggs, and vegetables over rice
mashed winter squash
pumpkin pie

The last couple of winter squash desperately needed cooking. So I split them into halves and roasted them.  We'll be eating winter squash as a side dish for lunches and dinners this week.


cheese and vegetable lasagna
winter squash

Last time I was in Fred Meyer I found some cottage cheese on markdown. Most of the containers were priced at 99 cents each. However, there were 2 16-oz containers priced at 50 cents each. I bought both. When I got home, my 2 daughters told me they don't really like cottage cheese. I'm lactose intolerant, so that meant my husband had to eat all the cottage cheese, unless I found a plan to use some of it. So I made a cheesy lasagna for the 3 of them and a vegetable, noodle, and sauce layered casserole for myself. I added some chopped veggies to the cheese filling -- garlic, chopped canned carrots, and some fresh from the garden kale. Yep! We've got some kale to harvest already, or maybe it's "still."

On my walk this week, I spied some snowdrops
peeking up through the soil in a neighbor's yard.

assorted leftovers, plus orange wedges and pan-fried potatoes

Our potatoes are beginning to sprout and go a little soft. I baked about 10 small potatoes in the microwave today. I enjoy these, sliced and pan-fried in saved bacon fat mixed with oil.


beef hot dogs
brown rice
beet salad
canned green beans
leftover pumpkin pie

No buns tonight, but rice tastes good as a starchy side. We're using lots of canned veggies right now. The beet salad was simply vinaigrette-marinated canned beets. I saved the beet liquid and may try making pink rice with it.

I have a peculiar streak that pops up from time to time.
The pink spots are rose petals from a bouquet of roses last month.
Instead of composting the flowers and stems. I scattered the
petals over one of the vegetable beds (cuz I thought they would
look pretty). Every day when I take the 
compost out, seeing the rose petals scattered
across the soil makes me smile.

tuna salad
canned pineapple chunks
avocado wedge
applesauce-rice muffins (using up applesauce that smelled like it was fermenting and leftover rice, pureed with the liquids)

Do you get the blahs after the holidays? Or does life (and your mood) just pick up, post-holiday season, where you left off in early November? I hope your luster isn't lacking this month.

What was on your menu this week? Have a great weekend, friends!


  1. Hope you energy picks up soon, Lili. After the holidays, I look forward to getting back to a regular routine and thinking about the things I want to do in the new year. Good for you for getting out in bad weather every day. When it's cold outside, I have a hard time leaving the warmth of my house. Hummingbirds are a migratory bird in our area. It would be fun to see them in the winter.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Good for you for thinking forward after the holidays. When I'm feeling over-tired, it's difficult to think ahead more than the day. I'm working on that.

      I was surprised to see the hummingbird in early January. I thought they'd left the area for the winter. But I'm so glad there's at least one hanging around. I see him/her in several spots in the yard each day. I do force myself to go outside most days. That's a big help to my mood.

      Have a great day, Live and Learn!

  2. My birthday is Jan. 12 and it obviously comes right after the holidays where everyone is tired and no one enjoys yet another celebration and we mostly have lots of snow or big snow storms to add to the mood. Not always enjoyable. When the kids were little they often unknowingly chose that day to be extra naughty or when they were in school often had snow days. This year, however, the weather was mild, my husband took the day off, I took the day off and we spent the day out almost the entire day. It ranked as one of my best birthdays ever! We had breakfast out and we took our two local kids out for dinner at a place my son chose! All for my BIG number birthday. I don't feel my age and the number shocks me a bit.

    Hope you bump the blues. We're getting longer days, we're closer to spring, winter is half over, lots of things to look forward to.


    1. Happy birthday, Alice! My birthday falls between our anniversary and Mother's Day, so it's typically minimally celebrated (which is ok with me overall but sometimes it would be nice to have someone make a big deal out of it). Glad you had a fun day!

      Lili, here's a link for an egg and cottage cheese casserole that you might like if you find yourself with excess cottage cheese again (maybe not now when the price of eggs is astronomical, though).

      I'm more likely to get the winter blues in February or March, although it's been excessively gray and drippy weather lately, which wears on my nerves. Getting outside is helpful for brightening my mood.

      Meals this week--sausage/barley/lentil soup with overnight rise bread; sheet pan supper with kielbasa/potatoes/carrots/onions, apricot chicken with rice, mac and cheese, and that's all I remember in terms of meals.

      Hope you feel more energetic and back to yourself next week, Lili!

    2. Happy Belated Birthday, Alice!

    3. Happy birthday, Alice! I'm so glad you had such a great day. And happy for you that your husband and 2 local kids could help you celebrate. I don't really feel my own age, either. I always thought I would feel and look a lot older than I think I do at this age. I'm grateful for that.

      Thank you for your encouragement. You're right, season-wise, we're heading toward sunnier, longer, warmer days. And that's a whole lot to look forward to. Thanks for the reminder!

    4. Hi Kris,
      Thanks for the link for a cottage cheese dish. Back when I could eat cottage cheese, I often made myself mini faux cheesecakes with eggs, cottage cheese, vanilla, and sugar-free sweeteners. This recipe was popular in the 1970s when the Atkins diet made its first debut. Those were good and high protein.

      I'm sorry you've got gray and drippy weather right now. The lack of sunshine is always hard to take. I'm working on my own energy and attitude this week and starting to feel somewhat better.

      Enjoy the rest of your day!

  3. Your meals look delicious, Lili. Yes, I understand about the doldrums after the holidays. It’s like a big let down or something similar. I hope you get to feeling more like yourself sooner rather than later.

    1. Thank you, Belinda. Post-holiday blahs are a real bummer. I appreciate your understanding.
      Have a wonderful rest of your day, Belinda!

  4. I'm sorry to hear you've been feeling not-so-great. Good job on continuing to make nutritious and varied meals, though--that can be a challenge when not feeling one's best.

    1. Thank you, Cat. I sometimes have to force myself to do what I know is best for myself (nutritious meals, getting outdoors, keeping up with basic housekeeping). Fake it until I make it actually works for me. Thank you for your encouragement.

      Have a great rest of your day, Cat!

  5. Happy Birthday, Alice. As an older one in our group, maybe the oldest I presume, I am not fond of the age creep too, but glad this year was your best birthday ever.

    Lili, please don't feel pressured to write a blog post on schedule, especially not when you are feeling tired or uninspired. You have over 10 years of well written and researched posts in your library for us to read for inspiration and reference if we don't see a new post.

    On that note, I've been feeling confused and uninspired myself, why I want to craft so much. I (literally) do it as a day job with no monetary compensation, no perks since I don't share what I make with anyone. Not as gifts or as you have offered to share on your blog. I don't use good quality craft materials (literally trash) as my substrate. I feel I am the only crazy person who does this sort of thing. It's not to save money either. Yesterday was my low point. I spent the entire day handstitching on bits of the ugliest, smallest fabric scraps that most sane people would throw away.

    Have a good, restful day,

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Laura. I'm sorry you've been feeling confused/uninspired about your artwork. I think with art, it's as much about the process as it is the results or the materials you use. I don't think you're a "crazy person" because of the materials you use. I've seen a lot of art and craft that I can appreciate that uses items many would consider trash. On top of its value as artwork, think about all of the materials you are getting a last use from that would have gone to a landfill if it were not for you!

      Have a wonderful day, Laura!

    2. Laura, I really appreciate art that has been made from "trash" and admire the creativity and ingenuity involved. The zoo in a neighboring city had art made out of ocean trash as an exhibit this past summer--it was really neat and I loved that the artist(s?) took something wasteful and potentially harmful to ocean creatures and made beauty from it. Keep creating, and don't feel the need to explain yourself. If your art gives you joy, then it has purpose.

    3. Thank you Lili and Kris for your kind encouragement. Now that I think about it, I have always been intrigued when artists use humble materials in their creation. In fact I've been collecting articles of these artists for a long time. I recall a story about an artist in New York who collected trash in his daily walks to make miniature sculptures in a bottle. After many years, his work was of interest to a nearby business owner who showcased the bottles in the lobby. Also a collage artist who in her 90s still assembles torn pieces of paper. In the video she held up a torn advertisement and said her friend gave it to her on her birthday. She noted how beautiful and unique the piece was. These artists have been my inspiration. Prior to your comment, Kris, I forgot I've always loved this kind of art, and perhaps that's the connection and explanation for my insistence to use trashy materials. Unless it's in your DNA this obsession may seem crazy.


  6. Your meals look great and I certainly understand the hard weeks. I’m having one of those this week. Not because of holidays but work and illness, though the end result is the same! This week will be easy meals as next week will be colder and there will be more soups and comfort meals needed. I typically meal prep a lot on weekends but this past weekend my boy had a flu type thing. That plus my partner working 60 hours a week and I’m steady at 40 hours…there will be a lot of freezer finds and convenience meals with basic side salads and apple slices. Nobody will starve. Ive found that these “fly by the seat of my pants” weeks are appreciated because they get to eat stuff we don’t often eat and by next week, they’ll be grateful for the real food again. Here’s to hoping that’s still the case. VKC


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