Contact Me

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Zucchini Casserole, please," from my children.

Are you a frugal cook? Do you have too many zucchinis? This casserole is just for you?

This thrifty recipe will help solve the problem of what to do with the abundance of zucchinis this time of year. Frozen or stale bread can be put to good use. I freeze chopped onions, so that is one chore that can be done ahead of time. Really fresh tomatoes or sad slices in the refrigerator can be put to good use. No one will know that tomato's consistency was not to your liking. The casserole is a one-dish meal or just one of the dishes you serve, depending on your preference. I have made this ahead of time and put it in the oven just before dinner. Or, if you have a timer on your oven to start meals when you are away, make this, put it in the oven, and set the timer. Dinner will be ready when you arrive.

I have no measurements for any ingredient. Use your own judgment. You cannot be wrong. If you prefer more or less bread bits, just make it to suit yourself.  Use any kind of cheddar cheese or switch to a cheese you prefer. Slice the tomatoes thick or thin, depending on taste or what you have on hand. Own the recipe!

Zucchini-Tomato Casserole                     ***300 degrees, 1 hour

Peel and slice zucchini--thinly or thickly, if you prefer. (a little less than 1/4" is my preference)
Salt both sides; let it sit 30 min; rinse and drain (I quit doing this. I salt, let sit for 2 min and then rinse and drain.)

Layer in casserole:
*zucchini--salt and pepper lightly (I use no pepper)
*diced onions (I use yellow or Vidalia)
*sliced tomatoes
*buttered bread chunks/bits--about 1/2" size (I break up the bread, pour melted butter over it, toss/stir)
*cheese (best with the presliced squares in pack)
Repeat, leaving off cheese.
Bake (cover it)
Put cheese on top of casserole for the last 10 min; bake uncovered

I made this as part of a meal, having a meat and another vegetable. My three children (10, 8, and 3 when I first made this) ate the casserole, getting seconds and thirds until it was gone. They did not want to eat the rest of their dinner, sitting, and wishing aloud there were more casserole.

Finally, one day I made three huge casseroles and nothing else. On the way home from school in the car, they always asked what was for dinner. This day, I told them, "Zucchini Casserole."

They asked, "What else?" I told them we just had zucchini casserole.

There was silence and shocked faces in the back seat. (I was looking in rear view mirror and turned to see one child.) They were stunned and silent all the way home, supposing dinner was going to be slim. When they saw three casseroles, they did rejoice, smiling at my deceit. Those were three happy children that night. They ate all three casseroles! We repeated that experience often at their request.

This casserole actually is a meal--two vegetables, bread, fat, dairy (more fat), protein. Do onions count as another vegetable? Oh, they never picked onions from this casserole!

When my children were able to eat at the table and feed themselves, they drank unsweetened  tea. Otherwise, they filled up on milk and asked for more because they loved milk. Then, they were too full to eat the meal. Milk was for breakfast, snacks between meals, and after dinner. So, for a snack after this casserole, they drank milk and ate banana and maybe one cookie. They were active and always hungry--slim, too.

There was no artificial sweetener in the tea or in our home. We all just loved the taste of plain tea.

Mine were the only children in town who begged for zucchini. Other mothers were astonished. Frankly, I was too. My children sang the praises of zucchini while their skeptical friends made faces.

This is so juicy. And, it is even better the next day if you have any left. We rarely did.

If you try this, let me know how it turned out and if your kids approved. (If they hate zucchini, don't mention zucchini. It is just a tomato casserole.) Do you like it?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Life without Television

Okay, I know you are expecting me to wax eloquent about the glorious frugal, practical, productive, parsimonious life post-TV. Well, sorry to disappoint you. I am neither more happy, more at peace, more productive, or more anything except more disgusted. Now, I am going to whine. Or, rant.

How do I happen to have no TV? It happened at midnight on June 12, 2009, exactly at midnight. Just like I read and heard. Just like that—it happened—the screen went black. Did I think they meant everyone but me? Beats me. But, it really, really happened.

After I received my $40 coupon for the HD box, I purchased it and had television reception for about 30 minutes, sort of. It seems that for some reason, the picture just drifts away. Finally, I gave up on the box. After an hour of adjusting everything, I always lose reception again.

Okay, I could visit or talk with friends instead of watching TV. They all have families. I watch my favorites after most people have retired for the night. The library closes at 8 p.m. on two nights, 6 p.m. on the other weekdays, 4 p.m. on Saturday and closes on Sunday. The few museums close at 4:30 p.m. They charge admission, and I have been to them often. One bookstore stays open until 10 p.m. Fast food establishments are open late. Options are not abundant in my town.

Folks, this is real trauma! Since I happily, more or less, live alone, TV is company. Yes, I know it sounds pathetic. I can turn the TV volume really loud and wash dishes or straighten up the place if it is something I don’t need to watch continuously. The Today Show comes to mind. They do talk lots.

Plus, folding clothes is my activity during TV time. I like to fold clothes, but folding clothes is not exactly something that takes my full attention. Neither does the news. Now, folding clothes is a huge, horrible chore. Actually, clothes can lie in the basket for days not folded now. I have to force myself to keep up with them.

I watched the local NBC station mostly for the weather forecast. Since I have holes in my roof, I stress over rain. Jerry Tracey is the best meteorologist around. I really need him. Local=50 miles from here.

Some people adjust readily to their lack of TV. They even PLAN to not watch by getting rid of their television set or cutting cable. Not me! Even without cable or satellite, I could always get about eight stations. Since I am the only person in the whole neighborhood who can get anything without technical assistance, I think my luck is due to the metal chimney covers on my chimneys. Okay, so it is an untested theory. No one has had any other thoughts on my good fortune.

For the last thirty+ years, my television viewing has consisted of what I could get without paying for it. I had cable for about six months and dish satellite for the same length of time. Both were just too expensive for me to continue paying the exorbitant amount each month. Besides paying more than I was willing, I could not afford to continue with cable or satellite.

Really, I only want local NBC (local is over 50 miles away.). So, it is not so local by the cable and satellite definition.

If I had continued with satellite, my life would be in shambles. I would be on the street and in ruin. Why? Well, the movies fascinate me and I cannot, do not, resist. I would be willing to watch movie channels 24/7. That’s no way to live.

My favorite sitcoms, even in rerun, gave me so much pleasure. Laughing is good for us. I must have been getting healthier by the half hour when I had television service. Besides, I do terribly miss, Law & Order, Medium, and The Today Show. Have you guessed that NBC is about all I watch? Do you hear that NBC? I LOVE YOU! I miss you!

I have never even had the chance to look for Dancing with the Stars or anything else that is making headlines. It would probably conflict with NBC broadcasts, but at least I could choose if I had TV service. While I don’t feel that television should hold center stage in my conversations with others, I still would like to know about SOME of the references people make. Luckily, most of my friends can find other topics of conversation.

Most of my current events news is online, so it’s not often an issue. I discovered I can watch Dateline in episodes on MSN. I call a friend who can fill me in on anything I miss about state news.

Television viewing allayed my fears for years. Actually, the noise was my security. Often, something is in my basement. First it was a groundhog; then a raccoon took up residence. Both walked around knocking things over. Cats jump from here to there, knocking objects from hooks and shelves on the walls. Sometimes, they snarl and fight. Sometimes, it is a little whoopee session.

The noise is unnerving even though I know I am safe. The basement has an outside entrance only, so nothing or no one can get to me. Even though I know all this, the fact that something is invading my space in unnerving. Squirrels could jump on the house; hickory nuts could bombard the house and roll right off. Cats and squirrels could tussle noisily without jarring my last nerve when the television was entertaining me or I was just working to the background “noise."

When it is dark, I want noise in the house. I am very brave but I am easily terrorized!

Am I sounding pathetic yet?

Before the TV went off permanently, I lay on the sofa to watch TV. Now, I sit in my chair and use my laptop in my lap to view what little I can view. Folks, this is not as relaxing. Even when I get the news, I prefer to relax. Plus, then I spend too much time on the laptop.

I suppose I could try an antenna made for my situation. But, that would be a purchase. One man said he bought half a dozen, brought them home, tried them to see which worked best, and took back the rest. First of all, I cannot buy that many at once. Second, my back, eyesight, and fingers are going to make this an impossibly long and mostly a physically impossible task. I cannot see through the top of my progressive bifocals, and often connections are below my line of corrected vision.

You thought this was going to be a post about frugality or miserliness or parsimony? Well, it’s not. I long for television viewing. The longing is just a deep ache that cannot be stopped by anything else. I want to be bored stiff by inaneness when I am not being entertained. I don’t even think that is a word. Yes, I had my favorites that I watched. But, sometimes I just drifted off into the world of television. I was half-listening sometimes. Often, I read. Game shows, reality TV, soap operas? No way. But, the choice of what to watch is what I want. I want the right to watch as I please, to use the noise to drown out frightening noises, to watch my favorites.

Radio is not the answer. I just don’t listen to the radio, except in the car. And, I don’t want to listen to CDs. I use hulu for movies. Plus, I do check out movies from the library. Either way, only one-movie-a-night is my rule for me. Otherwise, I would overindulge. It's a pain to find a movie on hulu that I have not seen and want to see. I can only check out five DVDs from the library, so that keeps me in control.

Television reception is what I want. My favorite shows are what I want. I cannot be placated with a substitute. I resent paying for what was free to me before June 12, 2009.

I want what I want! I need what I want! (in this case)

Okay, maybe I am too miserly to spend over $600 each year for television access. Maybe it is parsimony. You decide.

And, the Winner Is . . .

. . . De-ette!

Send your email address to me at I will email you the Product ID,  the Product Key, and pertinent information.

There were many people looking, but obviously no one needed or wanted this product!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Eating My Pet Rooster

Eating meat is not a problem for me ethically, environmentally, or emotionally. I was a tough, practical little girl, frugal as a child, and thrifty beyond my years. But trauma remains from my pet rooster. Yes, sixty years later, I am still terrified of roosters.

My father was seventh of twelve children, so I had many aunts and uncles who all lived in Memphis, Tennessee. Some cousins were adults. There was always a relative just across town to visit. Some relative gave me a bunny. Daddy promptly built me a hutch. It was just my height! At another time, after a visit to a relative, a little chick came home with me. Daddy built me a chicken yard and placed the rabbit hutch in there. I cared for both for about six months, feeding them each day. Since I was the oldest of the three children (five eventually), these were given to me and me alone. Of course, I was the only one old enough to feed them, so they remained mine alone.

The little chick grew to be a rooster, beloved by me. I was so proud to have two pets. I felt special. One Sunday morning just after sunrise with dew still on the grass, I, a little four-year-old, set out to feed my bunny in the backyard, far from the kitchen door. I can remember the details clearly. I opened the gate to my rooster's little yard. I closed and re-latched it carefully, like I had been taught. I opened the hutch to feed lettuce to my bunny and felt searing pain in my back. My screams were deafening to me. My rooster was spurring me over and over as I ran. At the time, I had no idea what was happening to me.

Screaming, I fled in terror to the safety of my parents and the house, leaving the hutch and the chicken yard open. Mama and Daddy were on the back porch yelling and running as the chicken chased me, flogging me, chasing me, spurring me. They both rushed to me. Daddy beat the rooster off me while Mama snatched me inside. The rooster was still trying to get to me despite the presence of two adults who were trying to keep him away.

Mama tended my wounds that ran from my shoulders to my ankles, long cuts that bled. Since it was summer, I had on light-weight clothing, short and no sleeves. My clothing was in shreds. I cried long and loudly. Several hours later, I was still shaken by the whole incident when Mama told me he would keep spurring me when I went out. She asked me if it would bother me to eat my pet chicken.

Oh, joy! That would really show him. I eagerly agreed and really became cheerful. To this day, I can still remember that Sunday dinner and eating the pulley bone, enjoying every bite, thinking that he would never hurt me again. Oh my! I had such satisfied feelings as I ate. That was such sweet revenge.

I lost two pets in one day. We never saw the bunny again. The whole extended family knew what happened. One day, a relative gave me a kitten. As I sat in the cavernous back seat of a 1940's Buick, Mama said she heard my small voice, "Mama, are we going to eat my kitten, too?" She said she was horrified, wondering if we had eaten all my pets.

Yes, I remember all the terror but not the question I asked, and never knew how horrified my mother was at the thought of my thinking we just ate ALL my pets. She told me that part when I was a teen and still recounting the story of the rooster, terrified to collect eggs from our hens.

To this day I am terrified of roosters. At the age of four I was introduced to sixty years of terror. (Think Psycho-like terror.) Roosters circle me, trying to get behind me. Really, they do. They always try to get me from behind. No, I am not imagining this!

I raise hens.

Have you ever been spurred by a rooster? Do you fear them as I do, irrationally and fervently? Did you ever eat a pet, an animal that was acquired solely to be a pet?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Coop De Grace & HenCam & Chicken's Consigliere

I love the Coop De Grace blog. If you like cartoons, you might like these. If you like chickens, you might like these chickens. And, if you like chicken cartoons, you are going to love these! For some hilarious and honest chicken cartoons with a bunny, Vincent, thrown in, try Coop De Grace.  When I discovered the blog, I sat right down and read all the cartoons at Kater's site. If you decide to do the same thing, read from oldest to newest. Oh, she has an art site too!

The HenCam is right inside the coop! Plus, Terry Golson's outdoor chicken yard and goats have their own camera. Between sundown and sunrise the cam is turned off.

 Terry is a professional cook and food writer who has written a book, Tillie Lays an Egg, a book inspired by her very own hen, Tillie. She offers a curriculum based on the book. Teachers might be interested in her book and offerings. Tillie is one of her chickens.

The Chicken's Consigliere is bizarre at first. Then, it became hilarious once I figured out what was happening. Chicken has quite a life.

If you are looking for advice on how to raise chickens...hmmm, I only remember the fun stuff on these blogs. Try them; you will like them.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Contest & I'm a Big, Fat Liar

I promised you a contest last week. Sooooo, I am bad.

Okay, I was going to give away 2007 Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition with an upgrade to 2010. Yes, I have the box somewhere. If I don't find it, I cannot upgrade to 2010 nor can my daughter. It's all legal. I am not selling it, but it came with three licenses. The lady at Customer Service said it was okay.

The box was sitting right here, and now it is not. Don't hate me. My first impulse was panic, sheer panic. You know, the kind where you rip the place apart? Then, not only can you not find what you were looking for, you cannot find anything else either!

I decided to wait until almost midnight, giving me a chance to find it. Nope, seven people, at least, are waiting. But, I decided to confess. That is my Puritanical background pushing itself to the fore. Well, it didn't have far to push since the impulse to confess dwells just under the surface of my being. Here I am. I do not have the wonderful prize I had a few days ago!

Here is the deal--how about starting the contest anyway? If I find the box, the software will be the prize anywhere in the world. If I don't find the box, I will have another prize before Halloween, mailed out to US residents. Just enter!

Whimper, whimper, sniff, sniff, just don't hate

Still, leave a comment for a chance to win something. It may still be the software if I can find it before it expires the end of September. Followers--tell me you are a follower for two entries and leave another comment for the third entry. Non-followers--leave a comment for one entry. Become a follower for a second entry. Got it? Oh, I have no intention of going to FB with this blog or being part of Twitter-mania.

Okay, let me look for the software. It may have slipped off the ottoman and be hiding underneath.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Became a Panhandler Last Night

"Hey, guys." (to three men entering the gas station where I was standing, wanting to cry but remaining upbeat)

"I just went to the service station across the street, wrote a check and their machine to read it was not working. And, this station won't take any checks." (after 10 pm and 50 mi from home at a seedy gas station in a hollow and not well-lit. My car is running on fumes and the next station is a good 15 miles away.)

"Can any of you help me? I don't have enough gas to get to another station that will take a check."

First guy,"I only have enough for cigarettes." 

Me in a soft voice, "You don't have a dollar you can give me?" (he peels off a dollar) "Thank you."

"Can you help?" (to the guy who is trying to get past me into the store and shakes his head no)

Me, "Okay, thanks." (he dips his hand in his pocket and says that maybe this will help)

"Ooooh, thanks, I am not too proud to take change, THANK YOU soooo much." He had a really large hand and a really full pocket.

"Do you think he will help?" (pointing to friend of first guy who is checking out. The friend hears me and just sticks a dollar behind his back.) I grab it.

Me, squealing in delight, "Thanks guys, I have enough to get to another station to write a check...thanks soooo much." Oh, Happy Day. I now have a little over $3 and put gas in the car.

I don't need any stupid lectures about not being prepared. In over forty years of driving, I have never been in this situation.

But, I was panhandling at a rate of $180/hr. since it took me less than a minute to panhandle the $3 I needed.

Now, I have to give money or something to someone, not that I don't already give to others.

This occurred in July of 2009. There was no one to bail me out, so I sucked it up and started begging. I would hate to have to beg for money on a full-time basis or even occassionally.

Some of the panhandlers I see are scoring twenties right and left. How much do they make? Let's see, if a guy gets a $20 every ten minutes on the average, that is 60 min. divided 10= 6 x $20=$120/hr. x 6 hrs/day= $720/day. That is astounding. Okay, let's say the guy has slow times during the day and does not get a $20 each ten minutes. He is still making some serious money!

Let's keep going with this. $720 x 5 days=$3600/wk x 50 weeks=$180,000.00/ free?

I think I have found my calling! Did I do that math right?

Let's just cut that in half because he cannot stand in the rain and some days it may just be too hot or too cold or maybe his feet hurt. Maybe his luck holds up only part of the time. Let's just do some drastic revisions and say he may "only" get $90,000.00 for the year at $60/hr.

Yeah, I will still listen to my inner voice and panhandle, my calling. I won't be greedy; I can live with only $50/hr. Can you?

Update: I was kidding! No, I have never done that before or since.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Problems with and Objections to Cloth Napkins

I love my frugal, cloth napkins. I grew up with white, hemmed, damask napkins at the table. But, somewhere along the way I started using paper napkins. How did I go astray? Well, whatever happened, I am now back on the right track frugal track and have been for over thirty years. However, there are no white, damask napkins here. I am thrifty.

Okay, I declare myself Queen of Parsimony. Remember the Sweet Potato Queens' self proclamation? (Read the book!)

What are your excuses for helping deforest the earth to have your paper napkins and fill up the landfills with your refuse? What excuse do you have for the loss of precious water used in the manufacturing process? The electricity used could be better used by people still using other means to light their homes.

Okay, I don’t want this to turn into a weird version of “clean your plate because there are starving children in the world.” Stopping the madness of paper napkin production and use will not light the homes of families in Africa! They won't be able to iron their clothing with the electricity saved when you quit buying paper napkins. You know that, so I won’t pretend that you are selfish. Or, are you?

Sometimes, necessity IS the mother of invention. But, I invented nothing. I adapted. I just examined my priorities. As usual some of my best decisions come in a moment of financial insecurity. That’s okay. I am better for it. I don’t mean the financial insecurity. That was not beneficial at all. But, the decision to give up paper napkins was beneficial. Um, yes, I did give them up in steps. I did get there!

Since I am a self-proclaimed tree hugger, it puzzles me why I ever used paper napkins. Okay, everyone else was using them, even my mother! They were cheap when I had money to afford such things. If napkins I used were cloth, I would have to wash them! Dry them! Fold them! Whew! I am all out of silly excuses.

So, I changed my ways to suit my budget and to save trees. For over thirty years, I have not ventured from the parsimonious path of using cloth napkins.

The first thing I did was to tear the paper napkin into two pieces, cutting in half my use and my expense. Clever? Maybe not, but it worked. That was a temporary fix that made me start to think, actually think.

Secondly, when I ran out of paper napkins, I just used a cloth dish towel for several meals or days, depending on how messy my meal was. Well, gee, you say, all that reuse of something soiled just smacks of nastiness and poverty. Not really. When cloth napkins were the norm (actually, the only choice), napkins were used for several meals before being laundered. Each person had a different style napkin ring so that the proper napkin could be used for several days before all napkins were laundered. Some people reuse napkins still. After all, most of us just dab at our mouths. I still reuse cloth napkins before laundering.

Thirdly, as I became a bit more financially secure, I had a plan in place. I bought fabric for making my own 20” square napkins. That takes 1 2/3 yards of 42”fabric for six napkins, but buy 1 ¾ to allow for crooked cutting at the store. Then, I looked around my sewing room and found other woven scraps that made napkins, one of a kind. Some of them were smaller, around 10” or 12” square. Whatever size scrap I had to make were the size napkins I had to use. I liked the 20” much better.

The leftover odd bits can be used for quilt squares. The wide piece down the center seam makes a nice little bag with a hole at the top and bottom for storing and dispensing the few plastic bags I get at the store.

You will be happier cutting napkins if you make a pattern for whatever size or sizes you want to make. Use craft paper, newspaper, or notebook paper taped or stapled together. Or, use whatever you have around your house or sewing room. Inner facing makes nice patterns. Make sure the patterns are square! I mean, make sure the corners have ninety-degree angles and napkin sides are of equal length. Why will you be happier? You will be happier with a pattern and more likely to make napkins if you do not have to reinvent the wheel (or the square) every time you cut.

Or not. A friend made one napkin rectangular to be able to use the last odd bit of cloth. I am willing to bet no one noticed! I cannot do that at this point, but she did.

I have been rethinking the preference for 20” napkin size on frugal grounds. Plus, I bought napkin material with chickens on it. I really want to make those for all four grandchildren. Smaller napkins will allow me to make more napkins. For myself, I may still go with the larger napkins. Maybe I will make more small napkins. Ooooh, it appears I am evolving again.

From freecycle I was lucky enough to get two huge bags of shirts that were offered. I gave some of the shirts to my grandson to wear. Then I allowed a friend to take the ones in his size. All I had left were two polo shirts and about a dozen button-up woven fabric shirts that no one liked.

These woven shirts were 2X and 3X. As I looked at them, it occurred to me that the backs would each make a 20” napkin! Happy day! The short-sleeve shirts make two 10” napkins, one from each sleeve. The long sleeve shirts gave me four  10” napkins, two from each sleeve. Each side of the fronts gave me one or two more 10” or 12” napkins. (I avoided the underarm area.) Long sleeved shirts--four 10" or 12" napkins plus a 20" napkin. Long sleeved shirts--six 10" or 12" napkins plus one 20" napkin. Smaller shirts will make smaller napkins.  Folks, this is free material!

All are 100% cotton and from designer shirts. If I had thought about it, I would have removed the label and sewn it to one of the napkins from that shirt. All the napkins are menswear, not florals like I prefer. Since they look masculine, I may sell them. We will see. I plan to package all the 20" napkins, six napkins to a set. Smaller shirt napkins will be packaged together, six to a set. Each set of larger napkins will be six different designs of mens' shirt fabric.

All napkins I make are serged with a rolled hem. Some of them have been used for 20 years and still are in really good shape. The men’s shirt napkins may be hemmed by folding twice and stitching. I have not decided.

When I have company, I put out a stack of napkins that are coordinating, more or less. They all are material I like, so they go together. I ask each person and encourage each person to find a napkin they will like to use. People smile and seem to like this idea. They really take this choice seriously, taking time to choose, not just taking the one on top.

Other frugal ideas I have heard are equally worthy napkin ideas. Of course, I assume you will all recycle fabric items and not buy new fabric. However, if you do use new fabric, remember, you are not saving items from the landfill. You are spending money you could put on a credit card or other bill. What you use is up to you.

Napkins made from flannel with a wide serged hem are good for children. The 10” squares are serged with a regular wide serging stitch. Some use white flannel and serge with a different color thread for each member of the family or for each child in the family. Fold the edges over twice and hem with a straight stitch if you don’t own a serger.

Actually, old sheets, any old flannel item, table cloths, shirts, pants, or sewing scraps are all good candidates for recycling into table napkins. The fabric does not have to be a solid color. For everyday the fabric does not have to be really stylish. However, I am much happier using pretty designs. But, I don’t have children to use napkins, children who might have different ideas or might not care at all.

One guy just cuts t-shirts into rough squares. He has no need to hem or measure! If this would work for everyday with you or your children, then make it work for you. There may be other ways people avoid using paper napkins and use cloth. You might just find a new source of fabric for your new napkins. Can you cut several small napkins from the skirt of your child’s favorite dress that no longer fits? If no one else can wear it, cut that little dress up for napkins. You might be able to cut around stains or tears. Or, stains and tears might not matter for small children everyday.

Furthermore, you can get already-made napkins from yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores, and freecycle. This way, you don’t have to cut, sew, or coordinate. Just use what you find that you like. Last week, I found a blue plaid fabric shower curtain that will be the source for two dozen really nice napkins. The shower curtain looked new and smelled new, just unfolded with creases still evident. (The shower hooks that coordinated were still in the box.) This yard sale had lots of new items. The shower curtain cost me a quarter!

Okay, you don’t sew? My friend did not want to sew and did not have a serger. This was after I bought fabric and made my first set. She admired my napkins and wanted to pay me to make her a set of six napkins. My trade with her was not for money. She bought fabric for a set of six napkins for herself and bought my choice of fabric for six napkins for me. You, too, can trade with a friend. Use any method of getting the fabric, preferably not new from the store fabric. If you find new material at a yard sale, that is fair game and cheaper.

(I do not have to have an immediate payoff from friends. But, she is one of those friends who will take advantage of others. So, I had to keep our friendship exchanges on an even basis. Otherwise, I would be mending, restyling, and sewing from scratch for her most days. I know you all have had a friend or acquaintance like this.)

Don’t think you are making more chores as far as washing napkins. I can put my lightly used napkins in with similarly colored blouses and not use more water. If you make white flannel napkins, just put them in a load of whites. Even two dozen 10” napkins take up no room at all. That is less than two yards of fabric, no more bulk than one small bath towel.

Everyone is groaning? What? You don’t want to use that much clothesline real estate for hanging napkins? Okay, don’t hang them on the clothesline. I don’t.

I usually dry mine one of two ways. I lay all the napkins on the top of the washing machine, making sure the edges nearest me are even. Then, I take a pants hanger and clip it to the stack of napkins. All my thin cotton or cotton blend napkins dry quickly indoors. The hanger can be placed on the clothes line and secured with a clothes pin so the hanger does not blow off the line.

One day, I shook out a napkin and laid it over the washer lid that was raised. I kept putting all the napkins on the lid. My intention was to hang them on the pants hanger. But, when I came back several hours later, all the napkins were dry.

If you do not have a free pants hanger, don’t use your valuable clothesline real estate for napkins. Just hang them all in one space on the line using two clothes pins. I usually place the clothespin about three inches from the ends of the napkins. That way, if the napkins are not all the same, I don’t have to get all the napkins even.

When the weather is not fit to hang the wash outdoors on the clothesline, I might throw the napkins in the dryer with other items. They come out mostly wrinkle free. Smooth and fold while warm. Often, I hang them all on one pants hanger and hang in the doorway. Smoothing wet napkins before hanging helps them have fewer wrinkles when dried. If you hang your napkins to dry and they are a little wrinkled, just fold them and use them. Nothing bad will happen in your life. Promise!

Now, I admit that I like smooth napkins, but sometimes they are a bit wrinkled. They are wrinkled because I did not give each napkin a hard snap before hanging. So, I learn.

Look around for fabric you can repurpose for napkins. Even buying new fabric is easier on the environment than an endless stream of paper napkins coming into your house and into the landfill. To cater to my parsimonious bent and slim pocketbook, I will always look for sale fabric if buying new.

Leave a comment! Have you switched to cloth napkins? If not, what is holding you back? I think I covered all objections, but I will be glad to discuss your objections.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How to Pasteurize Eggs at Home

Cannot afford or cannot find pasteurized eggs?

Some people may be too frugal to buy pasteurized eggs, even if they can find them. Others may not be able to afford pasteurized eggs. So, if economy or necessity means you MUST eat your eggs unpasteurized, you can pasteurize eggs at home for almost free. Got hot water? You can do it. Thrift aside, you can eat safe eggs.

Egg safety

While I am not in the least concerned about egg safety, some people are. And, they should be concerned. When I bring in eggs from my four hens, I handle them like raw chicken. I use caution. The eggs sit for days on the counter, unrefrigerated. But, they are used in baked goods, scrambled, or boiled. Worrying about eggs is as remote as worry about chicken meat. Like I said, I am cautious.

Home pasteurization can be used on store-bought eggs, your hens' eggs you use, eggs you give away, and eggs you sell from your flock.

I found the information below for home pasteurization of eggs on the internet and lifted it word for
word. Citations follow.

Pasteurize eggs in your kitchen: why? what is it? how to do it!

"The more we learn about food safety, the higher our standards become - and, of course, the more things we find to worry about. Take raw eggs, for example. Folks used to think nothing of breaking a raw egg into their morning milkshake for extra vitamins and protein. Raw cookie dough was only a slightly guilty pleasure - like licking the bowl of cake batter. No one thought anything about the safety or lack thereof in Hollandaise or Bearnaise sauce, or homemade mayonnaise. Poached and fried eggs with runny yolks were simply a matter of preference - not a risky choice. Recipes galore call for beaten egg whites - and even whole eggs - that are never cooked. But then we found out about salmonella bacteria - and how dangerous it can be - and even the hardiest among us started to worry.

For the very young, the elderly, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems, raw eggs can be quite dangerous. Even though the FDA says that only about one egg in 20,000 contains salmonella bacteria - the risk is not worth taking if you are among these groups of people - or if you are cooking for them. There is a company that produces pasteurized eggs in the shell - a fabulous solution, because the egg remains as viable as a completely uncooked egg in a recipe - but those pasteurized eggs can be very difficult to find consistently.

Now, a solution has come to our attention. It is possible to pasteurize eggs at home - and easily, too! Pasteurization is simply a process of heating a food to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time - designed to kill specific bacteria. It is known that salmonella bacteria are killed at temperatures of 140 degrees in about 3 1/2 minutes (or a higher temperature in less time). If a room temperature egg is held in a bowl of warm water - say, 142 degrees to be safe - for 3 1/2 minutes, the bacteria will be killed. It takes 5 minutes for extra large or jumbo eggs.

Place the room temperature eggs in a colander, and lower them into a pan or bowl of 142-degree water. Use an instant-read thermometer to be sure of the water temperature, and leave the thermometer in the water, to be sure that the temperature is maintained. For medium or large eggs, leave them in the water for 3 1/2 minutes; for extra large or jumbo eggs, allow 5 minutes. Then remove the eggs, dry them, and refrigerate them, in a tightly-covered container.

Eggs begin to cook at about 160 degrees, and will be "scrambled eggs" at 180 - but if the 142 degree temperature is maintained, the result is a safe egg that will act like a raw egg in recipes.

Our listener, Andie, pasteurizes her eggs as soon as she brings them home from the market - a good way to avoid having to mark them, or creating confusion about which have been pasteurized and which have not."

Web http://www.kitchenproject/

For eggs fresh from your hens, the protective coating will be removed by this method, so eggs should be stored in the refrigerator after pasterization.

Don't become overeager and cook at a higher temperature or for longer. Follow directions for a product that will still be a raw egg!

By the way, if you have information contrary to what I posted, please share that. We want to be safe even if I am wrong.

Have you ever pasteurized your eggs? Do you buy pasteurized eggs from the store?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Guest Blog

Carol, author of In the Trenches, asked me to write an article based on a comment I wrote on her blog. Please visit her and hear my story of my mother's family in the Great Depression.

My First Contest!

Stay tuned. This goody is about a $50 value. All followers before the contest begins get two chances to win. Everyone who becomes a follower after the contest begins will get one chance. Just leave a comment when the contest opens to enter. International followers may enter!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Gasoline Diet Was Shot Today

My silly budget keeps me off the roads

I budget $20 each week for gasoline. As the prices fall, I can either drive a day longer or just put in another $20 of gasoline and the tank is a little more full. Yes, I know it is silly, but it works for me. As prices rise, I try harder not to  drive and to conserve my gasoline resources in the tank.

Fair Parade

Today is the Fair Parade. The County Fair starts this next week, and all the bands in the county, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, dance studios, hopeful for the Fair Queen, horses, carts, floats, little kids and puppy dogs, three wheelers, and who knows what are lined up on the Saturday before the Fair. The roads to cross the highway are blocked by police vehicles.

Town layout

This town has two highways running right through it, dividing the town into quadrants. I live on the east side. On Saturday, I was on the west side.

Yard Sale

I knew the parade was lining up and deliberately stayed on the west side of the highway, the wrong side. All the time, I was telling myself to hurry and get home. I shop on the other side of the highway, get chicken produce, and today, I just seemed not to be making progress in getting back across the highway to go home. I live on the other side of the highway that is the parade route. Since I was muddling around in a residential section trying to figure out how to get around floats and bands of children and was going to have to travel fifteen miles to get around the parade and to my home, I decided to stop at a yard sale. Big mistake.


While I was shopping, the parade floats, bands, and all sorts of entries started lining up and completely blocking any traffic. Yes, I was hemmed against the curb. As I wailed in frustration on my way to the car, "Oh, no. I am trapped!" My dentist heard me. He was managing part of the lineup or something. Anyway, he choreographed the exit I made, going around telling who to pull forward, who should back up, who should move to the other side of the road, and how far for me to back before pulling forward.

If not for him, I would have spent two hours at a yard sale, trapped in my car with no way out. I love a parade, but where I was trapped, no music, marching or waves would be on the agenda. My car was too far from the parade route to hear music or to see anything.

Uphill both ways

Even if I could have managed to walk the distance to the route, uphill and downhill would NOT have suited my knee. So, as it turned out, I did escape, but damage was done to my budget. No, I bought nothing at the yard sale. But, my car consumed gasoline for fifteen miles instead of the ten blocks I would have driven to reach home.

Fill the tank

Luckily, I had filled the car the day before with its $20 allowance (about 3/4 tank) and so will just be a little more cautious the rest of the week. I know the rule is fill the tank to the top when it reaches 1/4 or 1/2 tank. But, this works for me. If I were going to be traveling any distance from this small town, I would fill the tank.

Silly Diet

This is a silly diet, I know. Some people just plan for two days of driving and make a list of chores. However, I just plan two days, maybe three that will be spent at home. AND, my gasoline allowance for a normal week is $20..It works for me. Happily, sometimes I can drive for ten days on the week's allowance.

How do you manage your gasoline use?

Do you have a way you limit your driving and gasoline consumption with some silly, self-imposed rule? We all know the rules that are standard--batching chores, carpooling, etc. Do you do any of these or something creative or bizarre? Just give me a rule you impose on yourself. I promise not to tell anyone. Honest.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Buy More Underwear~~Cotton Prices are Rising

Okay, this is a big deal for those who buy new or used clothing.

Prices of cotton are predicted to rise.. Shoppers who frequent full-priced or discount retail establishments may be in for sticker shock. Your budget may be ruined with this news.

Christmas presents will cost more.

*In the last year or so, consumers have tended to give practical gifts of clothing at Christmas. Now, those gifts will cost more. Have you budgeted for this?
*Even if you are going to make the gift, a thoughtful handmade gift of clothing, you will pay more for fabric, I presume. Will cotton yarn for knitting be more expensive?

Frugal shoppers who frequent thrift stores may be in for a surprise or two.

*People who never shop thrift stores probably will visit and purchase from thrift stores more often. *Thrift stores may be crowded or understocked.
*Prices may go up in thrift stores if demand rises.
*Plus, there may be more shoppers vying for the same pair of gently used jeans.

If you depend on thrift stores to help you keep purchases within your budget and prices at thrift stores have risen, what will you do?

*Take better care of your clothes?
*Be happy with fewer items?
*Won't discard and replace items of clothing so often?
*Repair, remake, and recycle your clothing?
*if you buy new clothing, will you buy more classic pieces and less trendy items?

Will thrift stores receive fewer donations of clothing?

*If people do keep clothing because of the more costlier new clothing, will that mean less items to buy used in thrift stores or garage sales?
*Maybe people who hang onto clothing instead of donating it will not feel it necessary to shop since their closets remain full.
*If donations of clothing fall, there will be less choice for frugal shoppers.

Will the price of cotton go down?

I doubt it, but I am no expert. Prices of cotton are predicted to rise. If you did not get that the first time, listen. Supposedly, floods in Pakistan and elsewhere are the cause of the low supply of cotton in the world. Well, as a Southerner I think that maybe cotton could become King again if necessary. Yes, Southern cotton production and demand for that cotton has dropped in favor of cheaper cotton from overseas. Plus, the cotton producers want to get their share of the rising corn profits. Yes, the article is about Mississippi only, but I guarantee you that other Southern states feel the same way.

There has been a spate of articles written by persuasive people urging others to purge the closet, declutter, go minimal in your life. Whoa! Maybe you will want to hold onto some of the excess of clothing you have, even if it does not fit or is ragged, but especially if you are decluttering to gain space. Maybe these raggedy or ill-fitting garments will work well around the house for chores. Maybe you will be moved to mend or alter clothing. No? Then, trade mending clothing for some chore or goods you have. It works.

Or, you might want to cut them up instead of buying cotton cleaning cloths that will be more costly by the end of the year. If something fits, you might be glad to wear it rather than donate it or toss and buy new and more costlier clothing. I am not advocating not sharing your abundance, just think twice.

Clothing I wear in the house and backyard is not fit to even be seen in the front yard. I'm serious! Of course, a reluctance to part with things, a reluctance borne of paranoia will just be stressful. So, do not purge or buy with a doomsday mindset.

However, thinking twice about how much you really love your paid-for clothing over buying more costly clothing (even used) in the future might encourage you to keep things and endure a closet with a tight fit. If it is the tight closet that bothers you, store things under the bed or somewhere else. Be more thoughtful when you purge or declutter. Check the link for fabulous ideas.

As for myself, I am going to buy the panties I have been telling myself I need. When I pull on a really nice ??? pair of white, granny panties and pull off a chunk of the elastic from the fabric, I get the hint: buy more panties. Yes, I do cut a square from the front and back of the pair of destroyed panties to use for cleaning. Of course, in the past I have made all my underwear--bras and panties. Hmmm, time to start again?

One bit of advice in the article is to shop clearance. Good idea! But, again, do not let fear rule your purchases. Six dozen pairs of panties or three dozen cotton t-shirts are really not what you need. Every fabric with cotton will cost more. Nope, I don't think the price of cotton will ever go down. I told you that once! That's just the way of things.

Prices that have risen tend to stay risen. Okay, that is not good grammar. My English teacher brain does not care. Besides, it sounds so scientific, like one of Newton's Laws.

For the past several years, I have bought new-to-me kitchen towels, dish cloths, and pot holders at yard sales and in colors that will work in my kitchen. All WERE new, yet to be used, never-washed, and just perfect, and of high quality. Yes, I do bypass the stained, faded, worn, and sad kitchen linens. I have even found immaculate, white washcloths at thrift stores. Bath towels are abundant at my house; sheets are not. The state and quantity of linens in my house is more than adequate except for the few bed linens.

In my sewing room there is an enormous stash of fabric, enough to keep me clothed for years if it is necessary. Only the need for panties will cause me to shop. Okay, I do buy new, reduced clothing for a granddaughter. Ocassionally, I will buy for myself...pants that are really cheap because I find none at thrift stores or yard sales that are free of stains, obvious wear, faded . . . you get the picture.

How about you? Are you purging things you might really want to keep? If you don't shop for used clothing, will this rise in cotton prices cause you to shop for used or to consider shopping for used?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Coupon Craze may be slowing"

According to MSN coupon use is slowing. However, the news is not what the title implies. Food coupons that are offered are up and household item coupons are down. I don't believe that the frugal folk are any less interested in saving money by using coupons.

Yes, according to the article coupon use is still on the rise.

There was a boom in publication of coupons and use in 2009. I believe that. The headline implies we have given up on using coupons to save money. The facts presented in the article do not uphold the headlines.

It must be talking about Sluggy's little blip in couponing for a week or so earlier this year. And, her blog is NOT boring.

My coupon use has fallen for one reason only--my coupon binder was stolen last June. I have bought another binder and the baseball card pages to fill. However, I lost my momentum and have not refilled it or used as many coupons as I formerly did. The spirit is willing but the hands are not cooperating.

Okay, filling my coupon binder is on my list of things to do. That list grows longer every day.

Have you quit using coupons? Are the offerings as many and varied as you would like? Have the offering or variety changed any? Can you be specific?

UPDATE: I did not use the primary source which was in the MSN article. However, it is at the bottom of the article. Sorry, as an English major, I know better. Well, it won't be my last mistake.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Little Bitty Safari Finds

Don't go looking for free chicken or people food in the Alternative Storage Container (ASC=dumpster) on a Sunday night like I did. It pays to be frugal when searching for chicken food, but this was a little much. There are doors to open, but the stuff was over my head and dripping with blood. Gag! I poked around a bit.

My haul:
3 onions (for me)
1 lb of grapes
a bit of leaves and stems from some produce
1 long, wide loaf of bread

Yes, I will cut the bit of bad place from the onion by using only a portion of what appears to be good by cutting more from the onion than I think is necessary. They were swallowing grapes whole. My hens told me they love grapes.

The first thing I tossed in their pen was bread. The loaf was large enough for two of them to stand on it as they pecked. Here it is 9 hours later, and they still have not consumed the major portion of the loaf even though it riddled with peck marks. They way they were pecking when I tossed it in, I assumed it was hard as a rock.

There was not much in the asc that I could reach or wanted to dig through, but tonight should be better. The hens were able to forage for about 5 hours today. They ate other things I threw to them--ears of corn, a bit of chicken, peach leavings, some dry cereal and things I have forgotten.

My onions are now chopped and in the freezer. Gee, this will save buying onions for awhile. Yes, I will eat the food. However, what I would normally leave is fed to my four hens.

Where do you get your chicken food? Do you ever go on safari (dumpster diving), or have you thought of it? Do you object to this practice? Why? Any questions about my safaris?

Sunday, September 12, 2010


County Fair
Next Sunday I can start entering items in our County Fair! Frugal ways pay off in ribbons and cash. Thrifty skills that I learned as life skills when I was an ambitious child are showcased at county fairs. Last year, my first year ever to enter a fair, I won 5 ribbons! What’s more, I had never won a ribbon for cooking/canning or woodwork. However, I have won many ribbons over the years for my sewing skills.

This year, I plan to enter a bird house that is huge and has no top. It is meant to be used to house a plant. Last year, I entered a real bird house. The house was made entirely of wood taken from my 108-year-old home. Learning to use a table saw paid off, and I lost no fingers!

So far, I have canned NO tomatoes, but I might can one jar just for the fair. People do that, I hear. There are mulberries in the freezer that might be canned juice…hmmm. I will can at least one jar of fig jam.

This year, I will also enter sewing items. I just need to look at the fair list and find things I have made this past year.

Report forthcoming in the next few weeks!

Check out your county fair office to see what you can enter. I call the county agent to find the Fair Office number.

In the meantime, will you share your stories of your county fair? What did you enter?

More Fall Fare

I know it sounds strange, but September seems the perfect time to make biscotti. For years I thought it had to be tooth-breaking hard to be deserving of the term “biscotti.” Not so! I read that it can be cooked just once and sliced, or it can be cooked for just a few seconds the second time.

I don’t drink coffee, so dunking is not even an option. I use these for snacks, often when not at home, so dunking is not a possibility. Besides, I am trying not to cause dental failures by chewing on bricks that are just short of concrete hard.

Therefore, my biscotti is just extremely dry, not rock hard. If I give it away to coffee drinkers, I bake a batch that is rock hard. Okay, the biscotti I prefer and make is not THAT dry.

Now, for the good news—I have made and tested a recipe of my own biscotti. There may be about six variations/flavors that I have tested to perfection so far. I will share these for the rest of September. The goal was to cut calories and fat. Even though we all need a bit of fat in our diet and even in snack foods that we use to tide us over the afternoon, I just assume that most of us are not lacking in fats and oils in our diets.

There is only one remaining task—find the recipe and test it. I saw the recipe about a month ago and left it on the counter in anticipation of September.

Until the end of the year I will post recipes every week or two.

Do you have favorite Fall recipes?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stretching Leather Shoes and Boots on the Cheap

When I started reading about saving money on boot-stretching needs at My Roman Apartment... , I wanted to shout through the computer. "Don't buy the expensive liquid. I have a cheap way, an expensive, miserly, frugal, cheapskate way to stretch boots! Don't pay! Save your money!"

(My blog is still on the fritz. It seems that something is replicated 4 x 10, 000 times and I cannot get to most gadgets or do much more than post and read comments. Otherwise I would just post the hotlink for her impressive blog.)

I wanted to stop her from paying for services or the boot stretching liquid! In 1978, my daughter had outgrown her ballet slippers just BEFORE recital time in the spring. Not wanting to purchase another pair of ballet slippers that would languish all summer and then be too small halfway through the next year, I was bemoaning my fate to other ballet mothers. All the other experienced, helpful mothers and the teacher guided me to the cobbler/shoe shop in town to buy a liquid to stretch shoes.

With three children in tow or with the toddler in arms and on my way to pick the two older ones up from school or somewhere (always doing one or the other, it seemed), I hurriedly purchased the expensive, tiny bottle and brought it home to perform magic.

When I smelled the stuff (I always smell stuff I purchase), it was alcohol! Unlike Roman Apartment's bottle, mine did not have a list of ingredients. That was back in the dark ages when ingredients were not required. So, it smelled safe enough for my child's shoes.

I never purchased another bottle and told all the other ballet mothers who never purchased the costly shoe elixir again. Sigh...the poor guy probably never got rid of his stock and is still wondering what happened. Yeah, plain old alcohol from my bathroom plus some free water saved the purchase of many a pair of ballet slippers or shoe stretch liquid since I had two in ballet shoes.

I must admit that using a Chanel No. 5 bottle and getting luscious-smelling boots is a plus. And, unlike Roman Apartment, I don't have a Mr. Foxypants to spice up my posts! But, I do have a Chanel No. 5 bottle to rinse for the next stretching event. Now, if I can just find a pair of shoes to stretch, I will have my cologne I love, wafting from my feet.

I am pointedly ignoring the remark she made about smelling like her grandmother. Oh, yeah, I am a grandmother!

(BTW--you can clip the little edges around the top of the slipper to get you through a year. It looks funky and ruined, but the child will not mind and the dance goes on cheaply. No one in the audience can see the clips. Clipping the edge should occur after you have completely loosened the tie around the top. When you cut the edge, you cut the tie that makes them tight. If you have loosened the tie and the ballet slipper is still too tight, snip the top edge then.)

Now, you have two ways to save on ballet slipper costs. Oh, the little bottle I purchased did not have a spray, but it did come out in a tiny stream, necessitating doing the job over paper, the sink, or outdoors. Just rub in all over with your hands.  Then, you have to get the slippers on the child who must walk, stand, or run. Of course, this is always the time the child suddenly wants to sit quietly or is just too tired to do anything but sit with feet dangling. Still or dangling feet do not work for stretching shoes with alcohol. Remember to at least stand in your shoes when stretching them. I believe walking in the shoes is better, but that is just me.

Okay, it is half water, but that is $.99 for 16 ounces of alcohol, and water is free. And, it causes no damage to leather, happily.

I certainly hope it is kosher to play off other posts I read. Otherwise, this possible faux pas will be pointed out to me, I hope.

Has anyone else just used alcohol and water on ballet shoes or any shoe or boot instead of the expensive, tiny bottle?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

SAFARI! Accidental, really!

Okay, you know I would nevvver eat anything from a dumpster. What? Uhhh, you want to know why I have a special name for dumpster diving if I never do it. Uhhh…never mind. I didn’t ask for questions! Just listen.

There are boxes in the dumpsters. I just happened to need a box to mail a package too large for the flat rate boxes at the PO. So, I went behind the bookstore and found the perfect box just by looking in. I didn’t have to dig or search or make decisions. The box nearest the door and on top was perfect.

Someone had put other boxes and bubble wrap inside my box. As I was taking all this out and nicely placing it back into the dumpster, well, you won’t believe this—There, in the bottom of the box were individual-size packages of snacks. Everything was priced.

13 packages of tortilla chips made with sweet potato ($.99 each)

1 Multigrain snack package ($.99 each)

                       (Ingredients: flax, sunflower, sesame seeds, oat flour, brown rice, quinoa, soy)

1 canister of Pomegranate Vanilla Red Tea— enough to brew 35 cups ($9.99)

Total Value:

13 x $.99=$12.87

1x$.99= $.99

1x$9.99= $9.99

Subtotal= $23.87

Sales tax= $2.02

Total= $25.87

Yes, I live in a state that charges sales tax on food. That is lots to find, all clean, and fairly fresh, food thrown out and wasted!

There is a best-before date—04-Sept-10. Ooooh, that’s today. I really don’t expect them to taste bad tomorrow and worse the day after. The date is for freshness. They are not going to spoil and be inedible anytime soon.

Even if these were on your shelves at home and went past the date, you would eat them. I would. The only thing that I can imagine happening is that the chips might not be as crisp. At any rate, crisp or not, chips can be crushed and used for breading after meat or vegetables have been dredged in egg or buttermilk. They could be added, crushed, to meatballs or meatloaf. Surely, you can think of many uses for less-than-crispy chips.

Okay, you must know that I taste-tested one of the sweet potato snack packages just as soon as I got the car started. The tasting was all for you, just so you would know how it tasted. I just ate the last chip and there was maybe a vague, distant sweet potato taste. Maybe! Mostly, I detected a sweet taste.

Since I don't care for hot tea, I will brew the Pomegranate Vanilla Red tea and put it over ice. If it is not sweet enough, I will add stevia.

And, I am not fooled into thinking all this is healthy for me! And, it is not low-calorie fare. I am not sure how I am going to keep from devouring all this just because it’s here. The friend to whom I will give the lion’s share of this will not be here for another ten days. So, maybe boxing most of it and taping it up with lots of duct tape will work.

Send your thoughts from the ends of the earth talking me out of eating these myself. I lost 1 ¼ lb this last week and need to do much better. Life being fat is not fun.

Would you eat these packages just placed in a clean box in the dumpster? Why not? Do you eat food past the best-by date?