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

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

It's Been a Week of Salvage Operations

This week, I attempted to salvage lettuce, sardine fishballs, and some papaya and pumpkin fruit.

On Saturday, I made two fishball recipes. Both were a flops. I had over 60 fishballs to salvage.

With some DIY Tartar sauce or a red sauce, they worked as appetizers.

Then, I got a craving for Tostadas. That required lettuce. So, I have been eating a lot of Tostadas this week to save the lettuce and fishballs.

On a store-bought tostada chip, I added a base of refried beans, a crumbled fish ball on top of a base, with a little red sauce or DIY Tartar sauce, shredded lettuce and parm cheese.

The red sauce and DIY Tartar sauce helped add flavor.

There was not much difference in taste between the two types of fish balls. Plus, there’s not much difference in the pictures, either. I am too embarrassed to show the assembly of ingredients.

I can not afford to throw out these fish balls, so I will continue to look for ways to salvage them.

While I enjoyed these fishball Tostadas, another savage operation was a great success. Chicken Soup with pasta and a crumbled fishball.

The base of the soup was made from a previous Chicken broth recipe. The pasta was precooked and flavored with olive oil and basil. I just added the pasta and crumbled fishball to the broth. The fishball was like a dumpling.

Then, I thought about that bit of papaya fruit and pumpkn puree I had in the freezer.

Let's see if I add some plain yogurt, could I make mousses? Yes, I can.

Over the last five days, I saved 60+ sardine fishballs (some are frozen, will see how they work after thawing), a 1/2 head of lettuce and some frozen fruits.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Microwave: Faux Shepherd's Pie - Single Serviing

I have gotten into the habit of reviewing the contents of my frig to see what I can use to make what recipes in order to use up my leftovers.

Looking at my leftovers of black beans, and mixed vegetables with cheese, I thought, what could I do with them?

Why not try to make a Faux Shepherd's Pie?

So, without any recipe as a guide, I just guessed and I made one. I expected it to be uneatable mush. Instead, it was great!

I added some links below to some real recipes for Shepherd's Pie for your information.

Microwave: Faux Shepherd's Pie - Single Serving


Instant Potatoes

Hot water
Black pepper
A few drops of hot sauce
Parsley, dry
Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
Canned or frozen mixed vegetables ( La Huerta Guarnición de Verduras: Coliflor, Brocolí, Elote y Zanahoria)
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese


Instant Potatoes
Make a small batch of instant potatoes with instant potatoes, hot water, milk, black pepper, a few drops of hot sauce, and parsley.
Add more potatoes, if too thin.
Add more milk, if too thick.
Mix well.

Mixed Vegetables with Cheese
In another bowl, fill 1/2 with mixed vegetables.
Add several TBspns of shredded mozzarella cheese or other cheese.
Mix well.
Microwave on high for 2 - 4 minutes. May take longer if vegetables are frozen. Consider defrosting them, first.
Remove and stir well.

With a Tablespoon, add enough to make a layer.

Add a layer of mashed potatoes on the bottom of a small dessert bowl.
Then, add a layer of black beans.
Next, add a layer of mixed vegetables.
Then, top it all with a layer of mashed potatoes.

Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top.
Microwave on high (covered) for 2 minutes.

Real Shepherd's Pie Recipes

No-Fuss Shepherd's pie | BBC Good Food


Shepherd's Pie

Easiest Shepherd's Pie

Wikipedia - Shepherd's Pie

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Utterly Putterly - New Use for Insulated Beverage Container

It is the simple things in life that can make you happy.

I like cucumbers. I especially like to pickle them. But, occasionally, I'll keep one cucumber to make snacks and salads. But, one drawback is cucumbers don't keep long and you can't freeze them.

While I try storing them in the vegetable bin, it just seems they go bad too quickly.

On 5/28/20, I got a big beautiful cucumber (.415/kg, 43.50 / 18.05).
After a day or two, I made a small cucumber salad and some snacks.

Now, here I was with 3/4s of a cucumber I wanted to save for more snacks, salads or pickles. Could I find a way to make it last longer?

So, on 5/31/20, while I was washing dishes, I washed out a insulated souvenir beverage container. I sighed. Like many souvenir mugs or beverage containers, I did not often use this container. Do I give it away? No use keeping things you don't use.

Hmmm, would this hold the remaining cucumber? Would it help keep the cucumber fresh longer? Let's try it.

It works. So far, so good, been eating fresh cucumber snacks for two more days, now, and the remaining cucumber is still fresh.

I love the fact the container is compact and does not take up too much space in the frig.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Vegetable Chopper

For years, I contemplated buying a blender, instead I bought a manual vegetable chopper.

It is simple to use and clean.

During COVID19, I did not go out much or very far.

Nearby tiendas did not have celery,so I got some chayote.
(Source: Wikipedia.com)
After I had washed it, removed the seed and cut it into slices,
I used the chopper to “dice” the chayote.

After adding the slices to the chopper bin and pumping the blades for a minute or two, the chayote was cut into variety of small pieces.

I added some of the chayote to a chicken salad mixture in place of celery. It tasted fresh and crunchy.

See also, Chicken Salad Mixture post.

Chicken Salad Mixture

Chicken Salad Mixture

1 Can diced chicken, drained

1 Cup Celery, washed and diced
1 TBspn Mayo
Ground black pepper
A few dashes hot sauce

A few dashed of onion powder
Lime juice from one slice of lime

In a medium refrigerator container, add ingredients and mix thoroughly. After use, cover and store in frig.

Use in sandwiches, wraps, tacos or serve in a bowl.


Use Chayote, washed and diced instead of celery.

Use equal amounts of cooked frozen mixed vegs to chicken instead of chayote.


Monday, May 11, 2020

Hotplate: 10+ Hours Pinto Bean Soup

Hotplate: 10+ Hours Pinto Bean Soup
(Adapted from: https://whatscookingamerica.net/soup/appalachian-soupbeans.htm)


Add 1 Cup of pinto beans, rinsed and drained into a medium pot.
Cover with water an inch higher than the beans.
Cover pot.
Leave on counter overnight.
If possible, check in a few hours to see if the beans need more water.


1 Chicken bouillon cube
4 Cups water
A drizzle of vegetable oil
2 slices canned meat, cubed
5 dashes onion powder
5 dashes garlic powder
2 dashes hot sauce
1 TBspn Cilantro, dry (optional)
3 Grinds Black pepper
S/P to taste
Garnishes: shredded cheese, diced onions or scallions


In the morning, drain and rinse beans in a colander.
Set aside.
Add 1 chicken bouillon cube to 2 cups of water.
Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Remove and stir to dissolve bouillon.
Set aside.
Add a dribble of veg oil to pot.
Add meat cubes to pot.
Add garlic and onion powders, hot sauce and black pepper.
Cook on medium-high, scald the meat quickly, then add 1/2 cup chicken stock.
Stir mixture.
Reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook for a few minutes.
Add beans to a pot.
Add remaining stock.
Add 2 Cups Water.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer.
Add cover but leave a small gap to let air circulate. It will help the beans soften.
Simmer 45 minutes.
Check mixture.
Add more water if liquid is low.
Add salt to taste.
Simmer for another 45 minutes.

 When serving, add garnishes of choice.


Wikipedia, Pinto Beans


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

More Puttering Bliss

I fixed my first zipper.

Zippers are an interesting invention. But, if they break, they can be a bear to fix.

When the zipper "broke" on one of my backpacks, I put it in the sewing pile. 

I am always optimistic that I can fix things. Eventually, a lot of my "to be fixed" items go in the trash because I can't sew or repair much of anything.

Well, during the COVID19 Shelter-in-place, I had much more time on my hands. So, I decided to try and tackle fixing the zipper.

The top of the zipper had torn away from the base and the little zipper handle came off. The zipper teeth had fallen open.

So, using tweezers, I pushed and pulled the two ends of the zipper back into the handle into their respective slots. Then, when I pulled the handle down, the zipper teeth closed up.

I stitched the zipper base and the top of the zipper teeth tightly together so the zipper teeth would not separate, again.

I saved the knapsack!

Also, while I haven't learned how to make deodorant, yet, I did find a way to stretch a container of deodorant.

I buy men's deodorant because they come in larger quantities for about the same price as women's deodorant. You can find men's deodorant in pleasant scents.

But, I think deodorant containers are wasteful. They don't contain much deodorant and come in hard plastic containers that end up in the trash.

When I reached the end of a deodorant container, I decided I needed to figure out a way to extend the life of the deodorant, if I could.

So, I took the container and ran water over the top while I rotated the ball applicator. 

Then, I shook the container to slosh the water around, hoping to salvage some remaining deodorant.

It worked! I think I have almost as much deodorant as when it was new.