22 May 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

This is one of the cheapest meals out there. Pick up some frozen chicken meat - the cheapest tends to be thigh meat.

Cook chicken on low heat, in water with a dash of salt.
Then remove, and save that broth! The meat will fall off the bones.
Cut up the meat.
Put it back in a pan with some peas and diced carrots. (If you haven't any from your garden, buy some house brand in the freezer section.)
Add just a little bit of onion or onion powder.
Pour just enough broth to cover the ingredients, plus another half-inch. (Put any remaining in a tightly sealed container, and freeze it for later.)
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Make up a batch of bisquit mix.
Spoon the dough on top of the chicken-vegetable-broth in your pan, one tablespoon at a time until the entire mixture is covered in bisquit dough.

Bring to boil, watching carefully, then immediately turn down the heat to low. And allow to simmer gently for 8-10 minutes without a lid.

Check to see that the dumplings are tightening (sort of drying, taking on a kind of skin, sort of?) on the edges a bit, and if they are, it's time to put on the lid, and allow the chicken-vegetable mixture to simmer for another 8-10 minutes.

The shallower the pan, the more dumplings per serving. The broth will take on some of the dough, and be creamy rather than clear. This is normal.

I've also spooned bisquit mix over beef stew (after adding extra beef broth or gravy). And I've done this to stretch vegetables. I've added veggies to chicken broth with extra butter.

14 February 2009

Why Not Adopt?

A few years ago I had an argument with a poster regarding her irresponsible decision to produce children when there are so many waiting for adoption.

This woman's husband was unemployed and mentally ill. They were already living in poverty. By continuing to breed, she has all but guaranteed that her first children will not be able to afford the education that would lift them from this cycle of poverty. But OH SHE LOVES CHILDREN. Sure. Right. So much so that she's decided to overwhelm her budget by the overproduction of children.

This brings up a related problem. For those who love children SO MUCH, then why not adopt? This is a question the richer parents might wish to consider. If you can afford to feed, clothe, and send 6 or 7 kids to college, then why breed all 6 or 7? Why not adopt a few instead?

For Valentines Days The Odd Neighbor is asking the same question.

14 January 2009

Crunchy Ramen Noodle Slaw

I really should put more of these up. Better yet, I should find some really good sites where such recipes are posted routinely.


1/2 pound red cabbage, finely chopped
3 or 4 chopped green onions
1 carrot finely chopped.
2 pkgs Oriental Flavor Ramen noodles, uncooked and broken into small pieces
Almond slivers


1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
the beef seasoning pack from the Ramen noodles
2 Ramen Noodle seasoning pack (from pkg)

Heat in pan till sugar is completely dissolved. Set it aside to cool.

1. In a large bowl, add all of the slaw ingredients, except for Ramen noodles.
2. Pour dressing over slaw and toss.
3. Now add Ramen noodles.
4. Chill mixture for 2 hours.

If preparing for next day, do not add dressing till 2 hours before serving. Keep slaw and dressing refrigerated.


08 January 2009


Let's face it; capitalism sucks. And as our economy tanks, more Americans are getting wise to it.

Here are some handy links regarding the time-tested system of bartering. This system worked for tens of thousands of years. Maybe we should take another look?

And don't forget - bartering is taxable, so don't call it bartering. call it trading. Just exchange a few favors with your friends, family and neighbors...'kay? (http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc420.html )



And from USNews, here's an article with tips on Bartering.

01 January 2009

Let there be light.

If you have a 5 gallon bucket and an empty 1 quart plastic milk jug, you can make a crystal lantern.

What you'll Need

1. 5 gallon bucket
2. 1 quart plastic milk carton with the top cut off
3. Rocks or a big rock, whatever fits and weighs a lot.
4. Duct Tape
5. Tea candle


1. Fill the 5 gallon bucket 3/4 of the way with water
2. Put some rocks in the quart jug, and put it in the bucket. Put enough rocks to sink it down with out letting the water spill into it.
3. Put duct tape from inside edge of the jug to the outside edge of the bucket.

Do this on 4 sides (like an open cross). This will hold the jug in place, so it won't move around.

You don't need to hold down the jug down with tape if you have enough weight inside.

4. Freeze. If you don't live in a freezing climate, then this isn't the project for you. Don't waste your freezer space for this. Use that space to take advantage of sales, or co-operative food-buying ventures.

5. Once it's all frozen, you might need hot water to loosen the ice from the containers. That's fine. It will help to glaze the ice to be more glass-like.

If you have enough buckets, jugs, and candles, you can make several of these. The light is beautiful even in the daytime if it's dark and cloudy.

This makes a great post-holiday project for kids suffering from mid-winter blues.


07 December 2008

Abundant Russet Potatoes

Heavy table cream can be costly, but if you shop around or wait till it is on sale, you can get it for cheaper. Or settle for regular cream, or if you must, use half and half. But don't bother making this recipe if you are going to use milk. I'm sure there are recipes around that are for milk. This isn't one of them.

Lefse cakes from heavy cream are delicious. I visited a sister in Wisconsin, and ate 6 at one sitting. They are delicious spread with butter and jam.

Potato Lefse

About 10 large potatoes (or 5-pound sack)
1 1/4 cups of cream. The best is heavy cream.
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cups sweet butter
2 teaspoons sugar
5 cups flour

A. Peel, dice, and place potatoes in a heavy pan. Cover with cold water, and add salt. Bring to boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

B. Drain off the water, and mash potatoes as you would if you were making mashed potatoes.
Add butter, sugar, and cream. Mix thoroughly.
Now add flour. Combine.
Cover potato dough, and refrigerate for at least 10 hours.

C. Spoon out egg-sized balls to a floured wooden surface. Roll out to the depth of card stock. Add flour to mixture if too thin, do not overwork the dough or you will make it tough.

D. Using the rolling pin, roll the lefse cake onto a hot griddle. Do not use any oils. The griddle must be dry and hot.
Cook for about one minute, and using a spatula, flip the cake over.

Cool the Lefse cakes completely before wrapping to avoid soggy cakes that stick to each other. These are good warm or cold.

The best rolling pin is the kind that is corrugated or one that has a waffled pattern. I believe they are called Double Cut.


25 November 2008

Temporary Vision

Eyeglasses Broke? You Broke too? Here's a cheap way to see around the house.


37. Emergency Glasses

If you wear glasses, then you know how challenging it can be to find your glasses if you have laid them down and can't remember where you put them. You need your glasses to find your glasses. This is a way that you can make a quick, emergency pair of glasses for yourself or someone else that needs them.

You will need:

someone that needs glasses
a piece of stiff paper or aluminum foil
a needle, pin, or sharp nail
If you wear glasses, take them off. Look around you. Things probably look very blurry. If you don't wear glasses, ask a friend that does wear glasses to let you borrow them for a minute. By putting on their glasses, you can blur your vision.

Now we are going to make some paper glasses. Put your glasses back on if you need them to see up close. Use the pin to make a small, round hole in the piece of paper. Hold the paper up to your eye and look through the hole. If you normally wear glasses, you may be in for a surprise. Things look almost as clear as they do with your glasses. They will look dimmer, but very sharp and clear. If you are wearing your friend’s glasses, you should see a clear image, even through their lenses.

To understand how the pinhole works, you will need to make another pinhole, very close to the original. Now as you look through, you will see a double image of everything. Add five more pinholes and the image begins to blur as you get more and more images overlapping. If you add enough pinholes, things will look the same as they do without the pinholes. Think of looking at things without your glasses as looking through a tremendous number of pinholes all side by side. Using a single pinhole lets only a single image through, so it is dim, but in focus.

In an emergency, you can even do without the paper. Put the first finger and thumb of your right hand together, as if you were pinching something. Do the same with your left hand and then bring your hands together to form a small opening between your fingers and thumbs. Look through this tiny hole and it will work just as your pinhole did. I have even seen adds in novelty catalogs for emergency glasses which were actually just cardboard glasses with cardboard lenses. Each lens had several pinholes in it. A neat idea, but not at $19.95.