"I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." -- Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

White Bean Salad

By keeping cooked beans in the frig, a variety of bean salads can be made for various meals. Most recipe sites advise that cooked beans may last a week in the frig.

To cook a batch of white beans, see Blog post: Hotplate Small White Beans:

White Bean Salad Recipe
(This recipe was inspired by many recipes, see resources below.)

Single Serving


4 Heaping TBspns cooked white beans
6-8 Dashes Onion powder
1 Tspn Lemon juice, concentrate (made from a powdered drink mix)
1 Tspn Olive oil
1 Tspn Vinegar
3 Tspns Celery, diced
2 Heaping Tspns Carrots, diced or shredded
1 Heaping Tspn Black olives, sliced and diced
Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan or Feta cheese
5-8 Grinds of black pepper
S/P to taste


In a medium bowl, add ingredients.
Mix well.

I found the salad had a mild flavor. I liked it but some may want more flavor. To suit your taste, increase or decrease the quantity of ingredients.

See resources below for variations on making a White Bean Salad.


Quick and Easy White Bean Salad

Pasta and Bean Picnic Salad

White bean and Tuna Salad

How to Cook White Beans


Hotplate: Cooking Small White Beans

After many experiments cooking a variety of beans, I can now confidently cook: lentils and small white beans.

Hotplate: Cooking Small White Beans
(Adapted from: https://emmycooks.com/2012/03/22/how-to-cook-white-beans/)

I bypassed many of Emmy's instructions.


1 Cup of small dry white beans


Put beans into pan.
Cover beans with water, with an 1" of water above the beans.
Set hotplate on highest temperature.
Bring beans to a boil.
Cover pan.
Boil beans until the water is reduced to the level of the beans.
Add more water.
Bring beans to a boil again.
Lower temperature to simmer.
Simmer beans an hour or more until tender.
Drain beans and let them cool.
Put beans into a container with a cover.
Put beans in frig for future use.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Getting Back to my Tightwad Roots

Time to get back to my Tightwad Gazette roots.

I have drifted away from making choices to save money.

A core Tightwad Gazette (TWG) method for saving money when shopping for groceries is to buy items for less by choosing substitutes for expensive items, by buying items on sale including buying extras for the pantry, and by being creative. Saving pesos add up.

On a recent trip to a local grocery store, I picked up a few items but I tried to make TWG choices.

Vegetable Oil

I am going to try switching from olive oil to canola oil because olive oil is expensive.

Olive oil, 750ml $115.00
.153 ml

Canola oil, 450ml $15.11
.033 ml

Savings: $0.12ml

Dry milk

Besides having dry milk for back up, I also use it to make liters of milk for everyday use.

1 360g Dry Milk pkg (deslactosado light) sale price $39.86
makes 2880ml, 1 Liter = 1000mL, package makes about 3 liters

1 liter of milk (deslactosado) approx. $18.00

1 liter dry mix = $13.29

Savings: $4.71

Powdered drink mixes

I had been drifting towards drinking fruit juices straight rather than as fruit coolers.

While I think fruit juices are healthier, an occasional powdered beverage is ok for me.

Common powdered drink mix flavors are:

Té Helado, Limón, Manzana, Coco, Mango, Fresa, Durazno, Uva, Arandana, Tamarindo, Piña Colado, Horchata, Jamaica, Naranja, Sandia, Piña, Guayaba, Mandarina, Melón, Guanabana

Unusual flavor: Áloe

My method for using a packet of powdered drink mix is to make a concentrate. Then, I use the concentrate to make a glass at a time.

1 pkg prices range from $3.35 - 4.10, 1 pkg makes 2 Liters liquid

In general, 1 liter of fruit juices range from $10.00 - 20.00

1 liter powdered beverage = $3.72 / 2 = $1.86

1 liter of fruit juice = an average price of $15.00

Savings: $13.14

I also plan to use the concentrates as flavoring in various recipes.


1 pkg of 2 $11.00

I cut the sponges in half = 4 sponges.

Savings: $11.00

While comparing 2 large sponges with 4 small sponges is not an equal comparison, the cut sponges last just as long as the large sponges.

It was the TWG that spurred me to learn how to make meals at home for work lunches and more to save money.

While my original RKFNC cookbook contained several of the recipes I developed trying to follow TWG ideas and advice, I continue to try and expand my recipe repertoire.

Some other methods to save money available to most people:

Buy used clothes, books, kitchen utensils, furniture and more at thrift stores and yard sales.

Most of my clothes and books were purchased from thrift stores but here in MX, I have a harder time finding thrift stores. There are weekly flea markets in various locations and there are used furniture stores.

But, because it has been difficult to find what I need at these venues, like clothes, I priced clothes at various outlets. I found one where almost every item of clothing was under $50 pesos. I got several shirts and pants, and mix and match outfits.

Also, I found the best place to get cancletas (flip flops), at a low price.

But, it is funny, no matter what I purchase an item for, someone always says, “I got one cheaper than that.”

See post: 25 Small Ways to Save Money in Mexico, for more TWG ideas.

Toaster Oven: Mini-Flaxseed Cake

This cake came out delicious and I will probably never be able to make this cake, like this, again, even if I follow my own recipe.

In my search for Toaster Convection Oven recipes, I found this Microwave Poppy Seed Coffee Cake recipe. It sounded good.

I spent days looking for Poppy Seeds in various stores. No luck. Then, I found a jar of Semilla de Linaza (Flaxseed) and decided to use them as a replacement for the Poppy Seeds.

I cut the recipe in half and less for some ingredients.

I guessed at the microwave conversion bake temperature and time.

Toaster Oven: Mini-Flaxseed Cake Recipe
 (Adapted from: https://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/prt/0,1629,150161-227203,00.html?)


Set Toaster Oven on Bake setting.
Pre-heat Toaster Oven at 350 degrees.
Add a bit of olive oil to Toaster Oven safe mini-loaf pan.
Use a clean cloth and rub oil on bottom and walls of pan.



1/4 Cup Olive oil
5/8 Cup Flour
      (I eyeballed the cup because I needed 1/2 and a little more)
1-2 TBspns Sugar
1 1/2 TBspns Flaxseeds
3/4 Tspn Baking powder
1/4 Tspn Salt

1 egg
1/4 Cup Milk, I used milk made from powdered milk
      (I actually used about 1/8 of a Cup and
       saved the rest if needed.)
3/4 Tspn Vanilla


In a medium bowl, add the dry ingredients.
Stir well, mix thoroughly.
Add wet ingredients.
Stir well.
The mixture will be thicker than batter.
Scoop mixture into Toaster Oven safe loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

When the loaf was done, I expected it to be like a rock. I was shocked, it was a soft-firm, slice cuttable.

Then, I tasted it. Oh, it was great.
I added plain yogurt as a topping. Still good.

Optional Topping:

1/2 TBspn Olive oil
1/8 Cup Graham cracker crumbs (Crush some graham crackers.)
1/4 Tspn Cinnamon

In a small bowl, add ingredients and mix together. Set aside.

After loaf has baked for 25 minutes, pull out loaf, add topping. Return loaf to Toaster Oven for 5 minutes.


Saturday, June 8, 2019

Leftovers: Microwave Hot Chicken, Rice and Spinach

This is one of my favorite dishes using leftover chicken.

This makes one serving.

Leftovers: Microwave Hot Chicken, Rice and Spinach


Cooked Rice
Cooked chicken, diced
Frozen Spinach


Take a bowl, add a few tablespoons of cooked rice.
Add a few tablespoons of cooked chicken.
Add a dessert bowel of frozen spinach.
Add 1 tablespoon of Mayo.
Stir ingredients thoroughly.
Place bowl in microwave. Cover.
Microwave on high for two minutes.

Stir prior to serving.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Toaster Oven: Single-Serving Peanut Butter Cookies

Hurray, It’s a Cookie!

This is my first baked cookie in my Toaster Oven.

I am in heaven. I have hard-boiled eggs, Peanut Butter Mousse, Lentils with Garlic and Cookies!

Toaster Oven: Single-Serving Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

(Adapted from: https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/07/26/single-serving-peanut-butter-cookies/)

This recipe only make 2 cookies.


Set Toaster Oven on Bake.
Pre-heat Toaster Oven to 350 degrees.
Add a layer of waxed paper to Tin Tray.
Add a dab of olive oil and wipe over waxed paper.


2 Level TBspns flour
1 Level TBspn Sugar
1/16 Tsp Baking Soda
a dash of salt
1 1/2 TBspns of Creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 capful of vanilla flavoring or extract
1 Tspn Applesauce


In a small bowl, add the dry ingredients and mix well.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Stir and mix well until mixture is smooth.
With a Tablespoon, divide the mixture into two portions.
Scoop up one portion and drop onto tray.
Drop the second portion onto tray.

Use Tablespoon to reshape, if desired. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.



Hotplate: Lentils with Garlic Powder

In the past, I have struggled to make lentil recipes I liked.

Surprisingly, this simple recipe came out perfect.

Looking at the lentils I bought, I think they are a mix of green, red and yellow lentils.

Hotplate: Lentils with Garlic Powder Recipe


1 Cup dry lentils
Garlic Powder


Add water to a pot.
Add 1 cup of lentils.
Make sure the lentils are covered and there is at least an extra 1” of water covering the lentils.
Add 5-8 dashes of garlic powder.
Bring to a boil.
Lower temperature to medium-high and simmer lentils for 30 minutes or until soft.

Drain the lentils.

I forgot. One cup of lentils makes a lot of cooked lentils.

Now, I had originally planned to dress up the lentils in various ways. But, when Lucy came today, we had a "buffet" that included some of the dishes I had made, including the "plain" lentils.

The combination of foods worked well with the lentils as a side dish.
"Lucy liked all my dishes!"
That is high praise to me because Lucy is a great cook.