Monday, August 27, 2018

Cheesy Kale Wedges

Kale is a super nutritious vegetable.  It's also low carb.  Problem.  My husband is not a fan.  So I have to hide it.

Here is one way I get him to eat it without any complaints.

Shredded cheese, any kind you have and like.  I have used Parmesan, Swiss, mozzarella and cheddar.

Kale, fresh or frozen, cut into very little pieces with my kitchen shears.

Put a layer of cheese into the bottom of a no stick pan.
Sprinkle with kale.
Top with another layer of cheese.

Cook slowly until all the cheese is melted and the bottom is golden brown.
Clip and cook the other side until golden.
Cut into wedges and serve.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Ranch Oyster Crackers

The cycle of life has come fully around and once again there are little munchkins at family get togethers.  Snacks are great.  BUT, double dipping is to be avoided.

So I reached back in time to a snack enjoyed when the current group of parents were at the same stage.  Give them a try.  A warning, they can be addictive.

Ranch Oyster Crackers:

1 bag oyster crackers
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 c warm, not hot vegetable oil

Mix the seasonings into the warm oil.
Pour over the crackers.
Mix well.
Bake at 250 for about a half hour, stirring at least twice.
Cool and serve.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Syracuse University's Vanilla Wafer Cake

When I was in graduate school at Syracuse, one of my jobs was at the on campus restaurant frequented by faculty.

A favorite meal ended with this scrumptious coconuty cake.
It's just as popular and just as delicious today.

1 box crushed vanilla wafers  (I use my food processor)
2 cups sugar
7 oz shredded coconut ( I use unsweetened)
1/2 lb melted butter
8 eggs
1 cup slivered almonds (optional)

Mix all ingredients well.
Put into a 9x13 greased pan.
Bake at 350 until brown and a cake tester comes out clean.  Start checking at 45 minutes.

Cool and cut into small servings.  As you can guess, these are very rich as well as very good.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Buying and Eating: August 1-15

We are working with a smaller allotment this month due to our week with Mike's family on Conesus Lake.  I reduced the budget by seven days.

Our allotment for August is $ 295.44.

What We Ate:  Gazpacho and sandwiches;  ham and pea Alfredo, fresh fruit with yogurt, three bean salad; breakfast for dinner; meals at the lake; vegetable soup from the freezer, salad, and Chinese pancakes from the freezer; hot dogs on the grill, cheesy potatoes, fruit salad, corn off the cob with salsa; lasagna, peas, cheesy bread, fruit salad; ribs, baked potatoes, fruit salad, three bean salad

What We Bought:

Tops:  watermelon, Motts cranberry-Apple juice (60oz), Dole mandarin oranges (4), Kraft shredded cheese (4) $16.12

Aldi:  avocados (2), cream cheese, grapes. $ 4.59

Tops:  eggs, potatoes (5 lb.)  $ 2.78

Total Groceries:  $23.49

Eating Out:

Lunch with Dad:  $ 25.46
Lunch with Angela:  $ 10.07

Total Eating Out:  $35.53

Grand Total:  $59.02

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Date Bars: A Blast From My Past

Growing up, Betty Crocker made a date bar mix.  I liked them but my husband loved them.

Betty Crocker no longer sells the mix.  :(

But, there is a recipe on line from them that will help you duplicate the bars at home.


1 pound of chopped dates
1/4 cup of sugar ( I usually leave this out as I find the dates are sweet enough on their own)
1 1/2 cups water

Cook over low heat, stirring, until the mixture is thick.  This takes about 10 minutes.  I do mine in the microwave to make sure that it doesn't stick.

Crust and topping:

1cup brown sugar.  I've used white and it work, too
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup soft butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients well.

Press half the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan.

Spread the filling over the base.

Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top.
Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes.

Cut into bars while still warm.  Makes about 36.
Will freeze if you don't want to eat them all at once.  Yeah, that will happen.  :)

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Missing CSA

As you have probably noticed, we do not have a CSA membership this year.  Last year's half membership was so large that we still have some fruits and vegetables in the freezer and have just managed to use up others.

We still have blueberries, strawberries, strawberry jam and raspberries.  Corn, pesto, eggplant, green beans, yellow beans, peppers, pumpkin, spinach and kale are also still in the freezer.

Since we can't buy a quarter share, we decided to skip a year and fully clear the freezer of last year's produce.

We paid about $12 / week last year to purchase food that we are still enjoying this year.  I consider that a pretty good deal for produce that is next to organic.

Next year we will definitely be purchasing a CSA partial share again.  Support your local farmers.  Eat healthy produce.  Keep your budget in line.  What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Real Spanish Gazpacho

Over 40 years ago, when first married, Mike and I lived for three years in the Andalusia region of Spain.  There, a local taught me to make gazpacho.  This soup is like eating a cold salad in a bowl.  Make it often and enjoy.

There are no set amounts.  Just remember it is the tomato that should shine through.

Tomatoes, vine ripened are best but if you want to make it in the winter canned diced are much better and have more flavor than winter tomatoes in the grocery store.  I use one can or 2-3 large vine ripened.

Cucumber, about a half

Onion, about a half

Garlic, about 3 cloves

Bell pepper, any color will do, about a half

A slice of bread soaked in water

Olive oil, a generous glug

Vinegar, about 1/3 cup to start then adjust to taste

Lemon juice, about a Tbs

1/4 tsp salt, may not need if using canned tomatoes

Water if too thick

Blend all ingredients but do not puree.  There should still be discernable vegetable flecks.

Adjust to taste.

Chill very well before serving.  This is key.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Five Ways I Saved Money in July

1.  Using a coupon we received in the mail, we saved $15 on an order of Max's special diet food from  And, because it was our first autoship order, we got another 40%off.  All told, we saved about $42.  And I can cancel the autoship at any time.

2.  Oxiclean laundry detergent, normally $7.49, was on sale for $2.99.  I downloaded a $2.00 coupon.  My final cost was $0.99, or about 4 cents per load.  That's what my homemade laundry detergent costs.  I Saved $6.50  or 87%.

3.  I put the carcass of a roasted chicken to slowly cook overnight in my crockpot.  The next morning I separated the bones from the rich broth.  I also stripped the bones of all remaining meat.  I will use the broth to make a soup.  The meat will become southern BBQ for sandwiches.  Two free meals from what is normally thrown away.

4.  I made two quarts of homemade yogurt for $ 2.00 .  That's $ 0.25 /cup.  Much cheaper than at the store.  I have done this twice this month.

5.  I made homemade bagels.  The recipe made fifteen large bagels.  Because I buy my ingredients when they are on sale, the cost to me was less than.  $ 0.75.  That works out to $ 0.06/bagel.  I can't even buy them at the bread store for that.

Extra:  When I recently made a necessary online purchase I went through E-Bates and received an additional 10% back.  By doing this when I can, I have received a total of $166.60 back for very little effort.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Buying and Eating: July 16-31

We have $ 288.82  of our monthly allocation remaining for the second half of the month.     We also have a cushion of  $489.05 YTD.  Our total available cushion is $872.64

What we bought:
Bread Store:  pumpernickel, cinnamon swirl, cinnamon raisin English muffins. $2.78

Aldi:  cherries (1.7 lb), mandarins (3 lbs)  $5.32

Tops:  Italian bread, cheese (8 oz), ballpark cheddar franks, hamburger buns, lettuce, Cheeze Its, blueberries. $9.76

Price Rite:  pasta (4), chips (3), nectarines (2), Greek yogurt for starter, green olives  $11.87

Aldi:  pretzels. $1.49

Giant Eagle:  iced tea (56oz.)  $0.99 .for the lake

Tops:  eggs, cheese. $2.98

Price Rite:  Knorr's noodle side dishes (3), cake mix (2), whole chicken, bananas, mushrooms (3), shredded cheese (4), green olives. $ 17.89

Total spent on groceries:  $ 52.21

What We Ate:
Chicken vegetable soup and leftover Stromboli;  southern style chicken BBQ sandwiches, roasted smashed potatoes, sauteed spinach with garlic; spinach potato frittata, bacon and toast; charcoal grilled garlic chicken, three bean salad, bleu cheese grits, garlic bread;  Welsh rarebit, watermelon, 3 bean salad, black eyed pea salad; Mike was sailing so I had macaroni and cheese; chicken sandwiches with chips or pretzels and fresh fruit; beef curry and lentils pancakes; homemade chicken pot pie and salad; taco pizza; leftovers; BLT pasta salad and cheese quesadilla;  chicken fried rice, Chinese onion pancakes, fruit salad, green salad; sausage and pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and peppers;  leftovers

Eating Out:
Mike's Lunch. $2.62
Lunch Batavia.  $3.24

Total spent eating out:  $ 5.86

Grand total for the second half of the month:  $58.07
Grand Total for the Month:  $139.05. A stupendous month for the budget.

Amount to add to the cushion:  $ 230.95
Our cushion now stands at $ 620 YTD and $ 1103.59 overall