Tag Archives: dining at home

Smart Home Economics – Chicken Stew in White Wine.

These days, with the ridiculous inflationary reality all of us are experiencing, it can become challenging to maintain your household on a sensible budget.  Here at The Oasis of Four Queen Palms, we work diligently to maintain a sensible household budget, without sacrificing nutrition and quality.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a simple chicken stew comprised of inexpensive chicken thighs.  One way to say money on foodstuffs is to look for near to the best buy or expiration dates.  They are usually discounted by the store for faster sales.  This is completely safe; just make sure you use that product the same day or the next or freeze it for a later date.

Following is my recipe for Chicken Stew in White Wine that will serve two to four people:


1 T olive oil

3 slices bacon, cut into thin, small pieces

1 small leek, sliced into thin coins

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts

8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 bottle (750ml) of white wine (can substitute chicken stock)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Juice of 1 lemon

Optional for garnish: chopped dill or chives

 Warm the olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until the bacon has rendered some of its fat (about 2 minutes).  Add the leek; sauté for about 4 minutes.  Add the chicken, mushrooms, thyme, wine, and seasonings.

  1. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked – about 45 minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice.
  2. To serve:

Place chicken on a bed of hot, cooked flat noodles or rice.  Garnish each serving with chopped fresh dill or chives.

I bought an inexpensive, on sale, white wine, so you don’t have to buy top shelf, unless you want.

From time to time, during this year, I will be sharing my tips on stretching your homemaking dollars.  Sure, food and tangibles have become outrageously expensive, but with a little fortitude and imagination, you, too, can become more economically wise.

Check out my essay on Soups HERE, my Shepherd’s Pie HERE, and my Cabbage-Leek Sauté HERE.


As ever,

Lady Susan Marie Molloy

✿●▬▬▬●✿ ©2023 The Oasis at Four Queen Palms ✿●▬▬▬●✿

On Being Relaxed.

Earlier this week, I got the inspiration to bake.  The impetus was Best Friend mentioning one evening that he “sure can go for a piece of cake right now,” and that lead me to thinking, “Hey, I haven’t baked a cake since late last summer.”

I wound up baking “Two Egg Cake,” which is a no-fuss recipe for a basic white cake.  I used the recipe from the 1957 edition of Cakes and Tortes by the Staff Home Economists of the Culinary Arts Institute in Chicago, Illinois.  Then I whipped up a cream cheese lemon frosting with chopped walnuts from scratch.  (I cannot stand ready-made frostings.)

Was I done?  Well—

I went ahead and baked three batches of miniature scones (cranberry-walnut; raisin-apple; and cinnamon raison).  They are packed well in the freezer, waiting to thaw on the mornings that Best Friend and I have a couple with our morning coffee either in the courtyard or at the dinette table.  It is a pleasant way to gently start our day.

As I write this essay, my thoughts go to a serene life, a life without all the craziness of Go! Go! Go!, unceasing technology, and harmful egotism.  As I mixed the batters, the world around me became peaceful and unhurried.  As I waited for the cake and scones to bake, I hand washed the utensils and bowls and remembered how therapeutic the simple tasks of kitchen clean-up are for me.  Sure, modern appliances are time savers, yet what is it that we use those extra minutes for?  Check social media?  Watch a mindless television program?  Eat a bag of potato chips?  Do nothing at all?

I cook and bake from scratch as much as possible.  I find no real time saved using a box of cake mix, for example.  Making a cake from scratch might use up maybe an extra four minutes than using a boxed cake mix.  Cooking a meal of chicken piccata, rice, and fresh vegetables might take a little longer to make than microwaving a salty, preservative-filled TV dinner.  But it is healthier to cook from scratch.  And less expensive than buying prepared foods.

So what about those extra found minutes?

I ponder my thoughts.  I pray.  I formulate story outlines for my new books.  I converse with Best Friend.  I think about my day.  I revel in the unhurriedness.  I relax.

Would it be splendid if all parts of our lives were toned down – even just a little?

Not only would our lives be more relaxed, but life would also be healthier for us, physically, mentally, and religiously.

As ever,

Lady Susan Marie Molloy 

✿●▬▬▬●✿ ©2023 The Oasis at Four Queen Palms ✿●▬▬▬●✿

Smart Home Economics – Shepherd’s Pie.

Today, with the ridiculous inflation we all are experiencing, using every bit of food, and wisely buying provisions, is key to maintaining the household on a sensible budget.  My “waste not, want not” motto bodes well in this economic climate.  Not only is that good to follow with everyday home resources, but it is also a practical, wise, and economical way to get the most out of food and leftovers, so why not wisely stretch meals and create light lunches, while keeping the cost of food as reasonable as possible?

One of the ways I use leftovers is to prepare Shepherd’s Pie, one of Best Friend’s favorite meals.

I took the leftover beef chips I had frozen last month when I made Italian beef sandwiches here at The Oasis of Four Queen Palms.  Those little pieces of beef chips are good to save for Shepherd’s Pie.

While the beef was thawing out, I cut up a couple of Russet potatoes and boiled them.  I mashed them well with their jackets still on and mixed in about a quarter cup of shredded Cheddar cheese.

To the thawed beef chips, I added a couple of chopped carrots, a sliced celery stalk, and a little spoonful of flour and mixed it thoroughly.

Using individual Fiesta® casserole bakers in a pretty Sunflower yellow hue, I first applied a light olive oil spray inside them before adding the beef mixture.  Then I topped them off with the mashed potatoes and baked for a half hour at 350OF.


So, you see, there is no need to throw out scraps, and with a little creativity, you can have a nice hot meal that stretches your buying power.

From time to time this year, I will be sharing my tips on stretching your homemaking dollars.  With a little fortitude and imagination, you can become more economically wise.  Check out my essay on SOUPS HERE.

As ever,

Lady Susan Marie Molloy

✿●▬▬▬●✿ ©2023 The Oasis at Four Queen Palms ✿●▬▬▬●✿

Gracious Holiday Living – Part II.

One of the things that I enjoy doing is homemaking.  Yes, honest-to-goodness homemaking.  And that includes preparing and presenting meals at home.

I always held the belief that eating at home should be just as elegant as dining out at a nice restaurant.  For that reason, most of the meals at home are on a properly set table, with our good china and silverware, nice napkins, crystal wine glasses, lit candles in crystal holders, and perhaps a flower centerpiece.  This arrangement goes for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  Sometimes we’ll tune into a Mantovani or a Tony Bennett CD for some mood music.  It’s all covered.

Now, sometimes when Best Friend and I are eating light and having only a simple thrown-together sandwich, we might eat it off of paper plates, although those paper plates are invariably good quality and the seasonally decorated ones (not the flimsy boring white ones), with matching paper napkins.

Yes, the two of us eat at home with all the class and decorum of hosting a dinner with invited guests.

We generally put aside our technological devices at the table.  I admit that sometimes I will have mine nearby out of horrific habit, but I am getting better at not using it as some awful crutch.  We might quickly use a device to clarify a fact of some sort with the conversational topic we are having, but other than that – no devices at the table.

This set-up of eating at home in an elegant manner is a year-round tradition in our home, not just for those special occasions and holidays.  Each day is extraordinarily special in our book.  Think about some of the characters on the program, The Office, who ate lunch together at work once a month, eating off of good plates, using good silverware, and holding intelligent conversation.  It’s easy to do if you try it, and you will find that you will feel good about eating like a civilized person.


I do recommend it for everyone, even for the singles who live alone.  For the time I lived by myself, I ate my meals at my dinette table with good dishes and well-made and well-presented meals.  If I stopped on the way home from work for an Italian beef sandwich, when I got home that sandwich found itself on a real plate on my dinette table, along with a good napkin and silverware.  If I also brought home something to drink, I poured that drink in a good glass – no drinking directly from the bottle or can!  (Would you drink straight from the milk jug in the refrigerator?  Hmmmmm?)  And I did not eat while watching television.  One enjoys the taste of the meal better when fully engaged.  (I did not, in fact, watch television for years, and the only time I turned it on was to watch an old movie on TCM, and that waiting until I was done eating.)

I cannot imagine dining at home in a helter-skelter and sloppy manner, when it is so easy to eat like a civilized person.

Make your holiday season classy.

As ever,

Lady Susan Marie Molloy

©2022 The Oasis at Four Queen Palms