Thursday, April 20, 2017

My New Favorite Breakfast...

     When I was about 14 years old, my grandmother gave me a copy of An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott.  I loved the story and it had a profound affect on my life.  In the book, the main character, "Polly", preferred to eat oatmeal for breakfast.  To this day (54 years later) oatmeal is still my favorite breakfast.  I have cooked and served it in many different ways through the years, but always enjoy oats for breakfast.

     I had some leftover fruit salad that I had made and decided to experiment.  When I put together a fruit salad, I just use what I have on hand.  This time, it included banana, apple, orange, mango, raisins, strawberries, grapes, blackberries and a few walnuts.  I usually cut up the oranges first, as the juice from them will prevent the other fruits from oxidizing and turning brown.  The banana, papaya and apple were fresh. The strawberries, grapes and blackberries I had saved in the freezer.

     So, here is how I made my oatmeal this morning.  In a microwave-safe bowl (large enough not to let it spill over as it cooks!) I combined 1/3 cup quick oats, a very small pinch of salt and 2/3 cup water.  This I cooked on "high" in the microwave oven for about 1.5 minutes.  In the meantime, I cracked an egg into a small bowl and whisked it thoroughly with a fork.  As soon as the oats were done, I quickly stirred in the whisked egg.  Next, I measured out 1/2 cup fruit salad and mixed that in.  Oh.. my... this is so delicious!

By the way, that bowl is from my first mother's dishes, so it is probably about 70 years old.  It says "Bavaria" on the bottom.  That makes my oatmeal even more special to me.  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Do you remember the Orchid?

Last February I bought an orchid and blogged about it HERE.  I had never had an orchid before and I want to show you how it is doing now.  Literally, there have only been 2 days in all this time that there wasn't at least one bloom on the plant.  It is amazing!  And since the longer days have come, being springtime here, it is very happy. I think it was more than worth the investment of 5 dollars, and the little time I take caring for it. Here are some pictures:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I'm not an interior decorator, either...

When we moved into our trailer almost exactly 2 years ago, I brought the sheer curtains from our old house and hung them at the windows in the trailer... (a.k.a. "mobile home")  That was fine, for a long long time... until a few weeks ago, I was visiting our oldest daughter, and she was getting rid of some clothing and other items.  There was a very nice cotton valance in there.  I said, "Can I have that?"  So, here it is at our kitchen window:

Well, like the story of the peasant man who broke his shoelace, this new addition to our home made me dissatisfied with the sheers I had at the windows.  Sigh....  so I bought 3 yards of muslin and 1 yard of a print at our local Walmart and made valances for our 3 other windows in the "great room."

If you look closely, you will see that I applied some lace trim above and below the strip with birds on it.  I have had that lace for a number of years.  I probably got it at a thrift store.  It was obviously purchased new well before the internet.  The printing on the card it is wound around says, "Home-Sew Bethlehem, PA 18018".  I looked online and found the company!  They have some really good deals on there: if you sew, I urge you to take a look!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Making leftovers last longer.... a frugal tip

Generally, when I have leftover food in the refrigerator, I will use it for up to a week.  Fish is an exception.  I only keep cooked fish or dishes with fish for 3 days.

If I have some soup or stew that is nearing the end of the week, I don't want to waste it, so I put it in a pot on the stove and simmer it for a few minutes, let it cool and then put it into a clean container and back into the refrigerator.  That way, I can get a few more days to use up the food.

Today, I had some chicken broth, that I had made last week for my husband who was suffering with a head cold, and also some chili.  So, I simmered them and now we can use them up! One caveat... I am not an expert on food safety.  This is just what I do.

Friday, February 17, 2017

An Extremely Tiny Tip...

You see that?  It's a stoneware paper napkin holder.  I don't use it in my kitchen anymore because I have a basket where my cloth napkins live on the counter.

I imagine nearly everyone has "junk" mail and papers that have an unused side or part of a paper.  I cut them into little pieces, rather than throw them away, put them in my napkin holder, and then when I need to write a list or a note or a recipe, these are just right, free and frugal.

Post-It's cost money.  These don't.  :)

Monday, February 13, 2017

(Almost) Perpetual "green onions" (a.k.a. "scallions")

If you like to use green onions in your cooking and as a garnish, here is an easy and inexpensive way to grow your own.  I set an onion in a mug with some water in the bottom, and you can see what is growing there. When I need some, I just snip off a leaf or two and cut them up.  The onion will last for quite a while and when it gets looking pathetic, I will replace it with another one.

Where I live, this time of year, the onions I have grown or purchased are sprouting enthusiastically, so that makes them grow in a mug even faster.

 Here is what the roots look like:

I change the water every other day.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Pressure cooking in the 21st Century....

I had been reading for quite a while how much cooks love their electric pressure cookers.  I was particularly drawn to the Instant Pot, since it has a stainless steel cooking kettle in it, as opposed to the non-stick variety.  Non-stick is lovely, but inevitably, it will get damaged or worn out.  The Instant Pots were rather expensive, though, so I always told myself that I was fine, just fine, using the stove-top pressure cooker - and I was!  However, I had an opportunity to buy an Instant Pot for a very low price, so I got one, fell in love and waited for another sale and got another one.  Now I'm "wired for sound!"

These things are amazing!  I've been pressure cooking since the 1970's and so am no stranger to the method.  The main difference is that you Don't Have to WATCH the thing.  You can quickly program it and walk away with no worries.  It will even keep your food warm for you for up to 10 hours after the cooking cycle is done, if that is what you want. You can also set a time for it to start.

The one I purchased will even make yogurt very easily.  I will not get rid of the stove-top cooker, as I think some day I may need it, or if the power goes out, I could figure out something....

Today, I made up a recipe for the IP (Instant Pot) that turned out very well and is delicious!

Instant Pot Corn Pudding

1 pint of home - canned corn (you of course could use 2 cups of fresh, frozen, or store-bought canned)

2 eggs

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

A few "cranks" of black pepper

1 green onion, finely minced

Drain the corn and then pulse it in a food processor to kind of mush it up.  Then combine all the ingredients.  Divide it into 4 buttered custard cups.  Cover each one with foil.  Place the wire trivet in the bottom of the IP, add 1 cup of water and stack the custard cups, 3 on the bottom one on the top.

Secure the lid, seal the lid, push "Manual" and set the time to 16 minutes.  Walk away.  When it is done cooking, it will beep at you.  Let the pressure release naturally.  When the pressure float valve goes down, open the pot and remove the custard cups.  Voila!

It really is very yummy.  You could do the same thing in a stove top model.  You'd just have to hang around and adjust the burner when it comes up to pressure and I would reduce the time by 2 minutes.  Natural pressure release with that too.
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