With the ever-rising cost of foodstuffs, 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 works 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 or portions of foods is to prepare fresh cabbage with a variety of other vegetables that sauté easily. Today, I am sharing my Cabbage-Leek Sauté recipe for two.
Take three slices of bacon and cut them into thin lardons. Sauté in a large frying pan. Then add about a third of a thinly shredded small green cabbage and one leek stalk cut into thin rounds. Stir gently. Meanwhile, slice about six button mushrooms; toss them into the pan. Add about one half cup of chicken stock (or water, if you prefer) and half a tablespoon of dried thyme. Season with black pepper and salt, if desired. Stir gently to combine. Simmer on a low flame, until the vegetables are limp, but not overcooked. Transfer to plates and serve.
So, you see, there is no need to spend a lot of money for a wholesome home cooked meal. With a little creativity, you can have nice meals that stretch 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, and my Shepherd’s Pie HERE.
At this point, 2023 is 1/12th finished. January went by at a snail’s pace for me, even though there were so many tasks accomplished:
January saw me write four new short stories – “The Jeweled Slippers,” “The Grand Duke and His Valet,” “Cave Justice,” and “Three Scottish Pearls.” All are now available on Amazon Kindle for your reading pleasure, as found HERE.
Best Friend and I noticed that our local grocery store hasn’t had fresh carrots in stock for about two weeks now. In fact, many items are missing from the shelves: oyster crackers, canned tomatoes, many Oriental cooking ingredients, and contact lens solution is out (I took the last bottle, and finding it there was a surprise).
Also, when Best Friend and I stopped by a department store earlier this week, we noticed the unmistakable strong odor of mothballs in the clothing department. We speculated that the inventory was sitting on the supply ship for months, hence the mothball odor. It was a turn off, and we soon left the store and headed to another to continue our shopping.
For the past four months, I have been busy crocheting a crazy quilt afghan with the leftover yarn I have. I am getting close to finishing it, and since I still have a lot of yarn remaining, I’ll most likely make another afghan, but in a different pattern. The afghans will come in handy for the chilly, yet ideally short, winter months here at The Oasis at Four Queen Palms.
I am toying with the idea of writing a short home economics book with the idea of smart money saving hints and tips for our time. I have it formulated in jotted down notes and outlined in my thoughts. If this idea comes to fruition, I may have it ready by late spring this year. Stay tuned.
And during January, I read two books by Alice Duer Miller, “The Happiest Time of Their Lives” and “Ladies Must Live.” Both were written at the turn of the century and were enjoyable to read. I sprinkled in a current magazine, “Taste of Home,” for good measure.
Now, the calendar turned to February – a month of a Saint Valentine’s Day celebration, preparations for Lent, and a bit of yard work and planting planning. Although this is a short month, it will be packed with activities, which I will be happy to share with you here.
Here’s to optimistic thoughts and good actions on our part. The world is becoming darker, and we surely need more light and optimism.
Welcome to my essays on life and elegant living at The Oasis at Four Queen Palms.
Upon awakening this morning, I dressed and headed to the kitchen to pour myself a cup of hot black coffee. Before I dressed and left the bedroom, my best friend hurried me to the window to witness the dawn together, where the sun was in the midst of a fiery red and orange rise above the horizon. It was a glorious morning sight, and pity that I did not have film in my camera to capture it for posterity.
A few oohs! and ahhs! were shared between us, a few words of wonderment expressed, whereupon I dressed and headed to the kitchen to make our coffees. I then went on to the terrace to drink my coffee and ponder my thoughts.
There is something to be said about the hazy, lazy days of summer, but what about life after October?
Indeed, once Halloween is over and the decorations and the masquerade costumes go back in storage here at The Oasis of Four Queen Palms, the pages on the calendar seem to invariably flip faster and faster each day. It never fails. In fact, when the calendar turned to November, I put away the few Halloween decorations I have (a ceramic haunted house my aunt and uncle gave me and a Jack O’Lantern from my other aunt). Then, as I was setting up the ancient paper turkey on my cellarette in the foyer and hung the wreath on the front door, I gave a few thoughts about Thanksgiving.
In my thinking and deep ponderings, the act of thanksgiving should be/could be a daily celebration. Sure, it is nice that we have a national holiday dedicated to it, and most working people have the day off. But does it have to be the fourth Thursday in November?
Best Friend and I discussed this very idea recently. Why couldn’t we have Thanksgiving on another day that we determine? After all, we are not going to the little shindig that our neighborhood diner is setting up (Their offering of Cheese Whiz on Ritz crackers, pressed turkey with canned cranberries and instant potatoes turns us off – and the cost per person is unreasonable for microwaved mass-produced food). No family nor friends are making the trek to holiday with anyone, either. So, we decided to forego the November 24th date this year and pick another day to have our own private thanksgiving, with our homemade foods, music of our own choice, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Indeed, this will be a different Thanksgiving holiday, one that for the first time in our lives won’t be on the Federal holiday date. It will be on our own terms.
And that brings me around to a question that a friend and fellow author asked me, paraphrased: “Does it take a recession and wild inflation for people to learn to be thankful for what they have?”
Perhaps. Perhaps it does. You see, I published a few short stories about people living during The Depression and learning what is important and what it means to be appreciative. I chose that time in history because I have a great affection for those times. Not that I was alive then, you see, but there is something about the music, the movies, the fashions, and the history that attracts me to no end. I suppose The Depression slapped a little reality into some people, and those heady days before those rough years were thought to never, ever end. Perhaps they thought prosperity and overabundance would remain forever; but who truly knows? Yet hard times did materialize, and sometimes that’s what it takes for people to realize what is truly important. It does not take a depression, recession, or impossible inflation to make a person’s life difficult, either. Circumstances vary.
And now returning to Thanksgiving 2022: Sure, we can make do with a lovely and lavish meal with enough turkey leftovers to make soup from the bones and Turkey Tetrazzini for the week, et al. Yet, the most important feature of whatever day we pick to celebrate, is but one of 364 days of thanksgiving. And that is what we will do on a day we determine to be our day of annual thanksgiving.
With the upcoming Holidays, I put my writing on pause for the next couple of weeks, which could be a good thing. I’ll have time to think about my books and the plots as I make the preparations for the upcoming observances.
I already prepared four batches of cookie dough and froze them, so they’ll be ready for a quick roll, cut, decorate, and bake for both Thanksgiving and Christmas entertainment. (Did you know that cookie dough can be frozen raw for several months before using?) Right now, I am baking my homemade pumpkin bread which will then be made into croutons for salads to be used over the next couple of weeks, including Thanksgiving dinner.
Yet, there are more tasks to accomplish: I need to finish writing out the Thanksgiving dinner menu, decide upon the Holiday décor, finish writing the Christmas letter and review my Christmas card list for this year, and so much more in the realm of secular entertainment and religious observances.
Yet, although the time might be flying, I am getting projects and tasks done. Writing itself isn’t always the mechanics of sitting down and putting pen to paper. It is an involved process, at least for me, that ideas float around my mind and marinate as I formulate plot outlines and conceive witty phrases. It was like that for me in college (for those twenty-plus page dissertations), and at work (for those technical orders and communications) – and it is always this –> take a short break, do something else, and go back to that paper or project. I haven’t had much good quality time to write lately, although I do have a slew of outlines finished. It seems that every time I sit down to work on my books, Mr. Rat Terrier needs something. No matter that Best Friend might be available to meet His Highness’ needs at the moment. Nope. It is I, and I only, who can fulfill Mr. Rat Terrier’s whims, from a doggie snack to being let out in the yard. Thank the heavens above that Miss Doxie and Mademoiselle Petite Chatte require little in the way of attention.
This introductory chapter is the first of my blog, The Oasis at Four Queen Palms. I plan to write an essay each Monday and Thursday within the realms of lifestyle and experiences. Indeed, I have been writing blogs for well over ten years now in different formats and names (and all but one is defunct), but this is the one that will settle specifically on life here at The Oasis of Four Queen Palms.
Well, time to get back to the kitchen. The pumpkin bread should be just about ready to take out of the oven.