CHEAP EATS OF THE WEEK
This week we are enjoying hearty meals as the temperature has dipped below zero. Cabbage is always cheap around here, about 20 cents a pound. It seems like it has been this price for decades, so stuffed cabbage is on the menu. But stuffed cabbage is such a piddly recipe with it's boiling the cabbage and then wrapping it. I always burn my fingers, so here's the flavor without the fuss:
Half a head of a small cabbage, shredded
1 lb. Italian sauasge
1 1/2 C. rice
1 quart V-8 juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
Brown the sausage and onion in a large pot. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the rice is cooked and the cabbage is cooked down. About 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Now of course, you know this is just a rough idea for a recipe. You can add more cabbage to make the meal stretch. I added carrots to mine because I have lots of them in the root cellar. Plus they add more nutrition. You can use less brown sugar if you like; we like ours on the sweet side, just as it was from our childhood. I didn't have any tomato juice but did have some home-canned tomatoes so I used them and added more water and some fennel and green peppers to spice it up a bit. The key to thrifty meals is to be flexible.
THRIFTY OUTFIT OF THE WEEK
Thrifted Eileen Fisher 100% merino wool skirt $3.50
Thrifted cable knit sweater $3.50
Garage sale vintage Trifari pin $1.00
Belt $5.00 on sale from Meijers
Underneath heavy cotton tights.
I wear this with my old brown riding boots, but since I haven't been going anywhere, I usually wear this with my slippers.
DON'T BUY IT, MAKE IT
My son loves pancakes, but maple syrup is expensive and if you look at the label on pancake syrup, you see that it is mainly corn products, which we avoid because of the GMO issue. Almost all corn products made in the USA are GMO, unless labeled otherwise. So we make our own syrup with organic cane sugar and cane syrup (we use Lyle's Golden Syrup).
Imitation Maple Syrup
4 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
2 tblsp. cane syrup (or corn syrup if you want)
2 C. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. maple extract
1. Combine sugar, cane syrup, and water in large pot. Stir until sugar dissolves; bring to boil. Cover and boil gently for 10 minutes. Do not stir while boiling (causes the sugar to crystallize)
2. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Add vanilla and maple extract. Stir until extracts are mixed in.
My husband calls me the queen of substitutions. I can find a substitution for just about any ingredient in a recipe, but here's one time I might have taken it too far. My children wanted some chocolate chip cookies but I knew I was out of some ingredients because it was getting close to pay day. I definitely knew I was out of chocolate chips but that wasn't a problem because my husband had received a large chocolate bar as a gift from a supplier, so I just chopped that up. So I started to make the cookies. First obstacle was I was short 1/4 C. of butter, so I made up the difference with shortening. Next I discovered I was out of brown sugar, so I made some using 1 tbsp. molasses and 1 C. sugar. I was sure I had eggs, but nope. Had to use 1 tbsp. flax seeds mixed in 1/4 C water. Fortunately, I did have baking soda. But not enough flour, being about 1/4 C. short. So I emptied out my oatmeal container and used the fine oats on the bottom, plus some of the regular oatmeal to make up the difference. Guess what? The cookies turned out great and the only ingredient that was in it's original form was the baking soda.
Knowing how to make substitutions is very valuable thrifty skill. Here's some common substitutions for eggs (all are equivalent to 1 egg):
1 tbsp flax seed in 1/4 C. hot water (let set until it starts to gel)
1/4 C. applesauce or 1 small banana
2 tbsp. water plus 1 tbsp. oil plus 2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 C. tofu
Some of you have inquired to what I have been knitting lately. Recently finished up this shawl in Paton yarn in sea green.
Currently on my needles is an Irish Aran style afghan.
CHEAP (BEAUTY) TRICK OF THE WEEK
I have waist length hair so the ends can look a little unhealthy and um, let's say rough. This is a hint I heard on an old timey radio show I was listening to on YouTube. Put Vaseline on the ends and wrap your hair in towel for half an hour, then shampoo out.
The first time I tried this I used too much Vaseline ( go light on the application) and it was really hard to shampoo out. The next time I did it, I used less and I really shampooed the heck out of the ends. It really did make the ends smooth and soft. To tell the truth, I couldn't stop touching my hair it felt so nice. BTW, another tip I read about long hair care in a Victorian era magazine was to treat your hair like fine silk when washing it. Never pile it up on top of your head and treat the ends gently.
This month we are enjoying studying animal tracks in our back yard. You can find all the information on line. It's a good old-fashioned skill that children of yore used to know. Through tracking we discovered that our resident fox lives under the brush pile in the area of the yard we call The Fen.
We are also watching the Coal House series on YouTube. One of those wonderful BBC series where families reenact the past. This time it's coal miners living in 1927 Wales. Makes me grateful that I live in the present era!
So that's it for this edition of my little magazine. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you would like to see in the next edition. Love and Peace to all!