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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Salmon Sliders

Adapted from: http://relish.com/recipes/seaside-salmon-sliders/

Servings: 9


olive oil
1 can 210g (7.40 oz) can Salmon, drained
3 packets of 3-double saltine crackers, crushed by hand
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 green pepper, diced
1 tbspn mayo
1 egg
2 liberal shakes of paprika
1 capful lemon juice concentrate
Small dinner rolls
A couple of cherry tomatoes, halved
Lettuce (optional)


In a large bowl, add salmon, crackers, onion, green pepper, mayo, egg, paprika, lemon juice. Stir well until thoroughly mixed.

Add oil to skillet.

Use about a heaping tablespoon of salmon mixture, roll mixture in the palms of your hands to form a patty.

Cook in skillet on medium-high for several minutes. Flip patties to cook on both sides until both sides are dark brown.

Place patty on sliced dinner roll. Top with a dab of mayo or other sauce. Top mayo/sauce with cherry tomato halves. Add lettuce if desired.

I tried a lemon-plain yogurt sauce. While it was ok, needs some work. The salmon cakes themselves were good.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Portabello Mushroom Sliders

Servings: 4


1/2 red onion, sliced
2 large Portobello mushrooms, stem removed, washed, cut into halves
1 tablespoon olive oil 
Ground Black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup grated cheese(s), mozzarella, feta
A few dashes of Parmesan cheese
1 Tblspn pickle relish
4 Small dinner rolls, sliced horizontally


  • Place rolls open on plates.
  • Spread mustard on one side of each roll.
  • Add oil in skillet.
  • Add onion.
  • Cook on medium-high.
  • Add portobello mushroom halves.
  • Sprinkle with black pepper and Paprika.
  • Cook until mushroom is heated thoroughly. Flip mushroom to cook on both sides.
  • Add 1/4 cup water, if necessary, to steam mushrooms and to keep onions from burning.
  • Cook for about 10 minutes more or less depending on your stove.
  • Top mushrooms with grated cheese.
  • Cook for about 1-2 minutes to melt cheese.
  • Use a turner to lift mushrooms out and place on open roll.
  • Scoop up some onions, add to each slider.
  • Top with pickle relish.
  • Close roll and serve.

Ideas: add sliced avocado, and/or shredded cabbage, grated radish, sliced olives.

So sorry, my "presentation" is awful.

While I really like Portabello mushrooms, I still struggle to figure out how long to cook them. Mine came out great, hot and still a bit solid. The onions were cooked to the point of almost charred.

I made four sliders and tried shredded cabbage, grated radish and sliced olives on three of them, respectively. I liked the grated radish and sliced olive ones but I think I would serve coleslaw on the side rather than adding sliced cabbage.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Surprise! People Like My "Recipes from the Kitchen of a Frugal Non-Cook" (RKFNC) eCookbook

Smashwords has added a new feature: A Daily Sales Report.

My novel El Sueño de Gina has had low sales but after spending months promoting the POD, I went over to Smashwords to see how things were going.

That's when I discovered the Daily Sales Report. To my surprise, it was RKFNC that had some sales from some surprising places:  Sony, Apple, PageFounder, Diesel and the big surprise was Barnes and Noble.

It was such great fun creating the cookbook that I am working on a second edition.

As I have said before, I give Ted Summerfield (The Backward Approach to eBook Success) credit for the idea of creating an eCookbook as a way to promote my novel.

Ted also created Smashwords Forum for Smashwords authors. It's a great place to find out how to publish on Smashwords and some of the formatting and marketing issues SW authors have encountered and much more.

The Magic of Leftovers - Part 1

Leftover (LO) Spanish Rice, Leftover Chicken & Bananas

1 cup Spanish Rice
1/2 banana, sliced
1/4 cup canned mushrooms
1/2 cup leftover cooked chicken, diced

Add ingredients to skillet. Heat on medium until thoroughly hot. Stir together.

LO Mayo & Mustard Dressing
Adapted from: http://www.theblackpeppercorn.com/2013/05/homemade-caesar-salad-dressing/

Almost empty mayonnaise jar.
1 tbspn brown mustard
1/4 teaspn garlic powder
1 tbspn paramesan cheese
1 capful lime concentrate
2 teaspns Worcestershire sauce

Add water to almost empty mayonnaise jar.
Reclose with lid.
Swish water around in jar until mayo residue has been gathered.
Add rest of ingredients.
Reclose jar.
Shake vigorously.

Consistency will depend on amount of water added.

LO Breakfast Skillet Dish

2 tablespoons skillet dish (see RKFNC)
1 slice Spam
2 tablespoons chinese takeout
1 egg

In a large skillet, add the skillet dish, Spam, and Chinese takeout in separate spots in the skillet. Let these items cook on medium-high. The goal is to create a hot breakfast. Flip the Spam until it has browned, clear a space in the skillet and crack the egg into the space. Fry the egg until the white is solid, then flip it to fry on the other side to cook the yolk.

Slid the quasi-mixture onto a plate. Eat and enjoy.


I often make a batch of pasta and season it with basil and olive oil. I will eat this mixture as a serving as is or use it as a base for other dishes such as:

LO Pasta and beans

LO Pasta and vegetables

LO Cold Pasta Salad

1 serving LO cooked pasta
1/4 can of Spam, diced & cooked (I like to cook the Spam in the microwave for about a minute.)
1/2 red onion, quartered and sliced
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1/2 cup cheese, diced
1/4 avocado, sliced

These measurements are more of a guess.

Add items into a bowl. Add Mustard Vinaigrette.

Mustard Vinaigrette:
Created by whisking about 2 tablespoons of vinegar in an “empty” mustard jar.

LO Meatballs

Meatball sliders with coleslaw

Meatball sandwiches

Spaghetti and meatballs

Pasta and meatballs with white sauce

LO Salmon Salad or Tuna Salad

Salmon/Tuna salad sliders

Salmon/Tuna patties

Pasta and salmon/tuna salad

Salmon/Tuna salad sandwiches

DIY Homemade Facial

There are many articles on making homemade cosmetics.

While I did research some time ago, I can't refer you to any particular website for more information.

But, this was my take away -- DIY Facial:


Mask =  a dab Olive Oil
Wash = about 1/4 cup Milk
Astringent = about 1/4 cup Grape Juice
mild soap bar or liquid

Pour a small amount of grape juice and milk into separate small bowls.

  • Pour a dab of olive oil onto a fresh tissue.
  • Wipe olive oil on face with tissue. Spread oil over forehead, nose, cheeks, chin and out to the ears etc. Leave on face for 10 minutes.
  • Use a tissue to wipe off oil.
  • Dip fresh tissue into milk. Wipe face with milk.
  • Dip fresh tissue into grape juice. Wipe face with grape juice.
  • Wash face with mild soap and water.

Updated: 4/25/15 The correct order is: Mask, Wash, Astringent.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What to Buy: A Toaster Oven, a Blender or a French Coffee Press?

Ever since I found the Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn in the early 1990s, I have enjoyed becoming a tightwad and becoming a tightwad has been enormously beneficial to me.

But, some decisions are hard for me.

Sometimes, when I try to save a few pesos on small purchases, I put myself into potentially dangerous situations, like wearing shoes with very worn soles on sidewalks with lots of cracks, holes, bumps, drops and old posts left sticking up. I have tripped at least three times and one was a bad fall. Now, I toss shoes that have worn soles and scour the city for shoe sales to replace the old ones.

Also, large purchases can put me in a quandary.

Because I am working on another edition of Recipes from the Kitchen of a Frugal Non-Cook, some recipes call for the use of a blender or oven. I have neither.

I work with a finicky two-burner electric stovetop and a microwave with one setting: high. So, I have been debating, do I get a blender or a toaster oven?

Getting a blender sounds like a luxury to me, whereas a toaster oven seems more practical.

I am leaning towards a toaster oven but do I get one with lots of features or a simple one? Do I get a convection oven? When I get into a quandary, I try to give myself time to make a decision.

But, what is also holding me back is not just spending the money but my new aversion to acquiring more "things."

After a lifetime of acquiring things, though most came from thrift stores & yard sales, it was a huge chore emptying my house, my room and my sister's storeroom of items, books in particular, that I could not part with. I don't want to do that again. All I could think of was how much time I spent sorting, packing, repacking, and disposing of items over and over, and over again.

Add in the fact, I like real coffee but have no coffee maker. Do I also buy a French Coffee press? I like the idea of getting the French Coffee Press because the ones I have seen range in size, price and style and it would be easy to use and easy to transport should I move.

But, then, there's the "hidden costs", like buying ground coffee and washing up. It sounds trivial but for a person who does not spend a lot of time in the kitchen, every task involved in cooking and cleaning is an effort.

Plus, caffeine now keeps me awake if I drink it after Noon. Instant coffee has worked fine for my morning cup of coffee. But, my guests would probably prefer real coffee. But, I don't really entertain that much. And the coffee press is not needed for my next RKFNC cookbook.

I also put off buying things because there are other things I "want", like taking a trip. I like to apply Amy's adage "Get Your Bang for the Buck" as part of my decision-making. I recently decided to cancel a trip because it would cost too much money for too little pleasure. So, now, I feel like I can afford a "little" trip and maybe a toaster oven.

But, after awhile I get frustrated and feel I must make a decision.

Luckily, I hate to shop and haven't been near a store in two weeks. But, the next time I go grocery shopping, those convection toaster ovens will be there.

On one hand, because I don't have a car, it's hard to shop for bargains but on the other hand, I am a good customer at the grocery store and it would be easy to return the toaster oven should it fail to work properly.

So many little decisions make up big decisions.

I even have to think about the value of the peso. Right now it's higher than it's been in four years, about 15 pesos for 1$US. Usually it runs about 12 pesos for 1$US. The savings comes from using less US$ to buy the same amount of pesos at an ATM.

But, I won't die without a toaster oven, a blender or a coffee press, so I have time to think about these purchases.