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

Monday, June 21, 2021

Stovetop: Salmon Sliders

I was scrounging through my canned goods trying to figure out what I could make. I had a Costco can of salmon. Hmmm, let's look for a salmon recipe.
I quickly found a @BudgetBytes recipe for Salmon Burgers. As usual, I adapted the recipe, plus, I did not have all the ingredients. Where in the past, I would have been stymied, now, I am comfortable making adaptations and learning to use ingredients on hand.
Also, I reduced the "spicy" ingredients trying to make the sliders #GERD-friendly.

While I started the recipe in the afternoon of one day, I had to rush out to do an errand, so the mixture sat in the frig overnight which may have been a good idea.

I made sliders rather than cakes because I like small meals.
While I have made salmon sliders in the past, this recipe is different.

When I went to cook the sliders, I had a hard time "measuring" time to cook. But, I was patient this time and used my cell phone clock to measure 3-5 minutes. I washed some dishes as I waited. I determined one side was cooked by the brownness of the bottom before I flipped the slider over.

I wanted to use pumpernickel bread, so I cut two slices into small squares, spread mayo over them, added the slider then topped it with a DIY pickle relish.
I added a miniature side salad of diced cucumbers, apple and ribbons of carrot without dressing to this small meal.

In the end, I made six sliders.

This could be a more GERD-friendly meal, if you eliminate black pepper and hot sauce, and substitute the DIY pickle relish with greenery.
By the way, the pumpernickel bread was great. Any scrap bread went into the scrap bread bag in the freezer for future uses.
Stovetop: Salmon Sliders
(Adapted from: https://www.budgetbytes.com/wprm_print/41304)


1 Small Can of salmon*, drained
1/4 Cup Breadcrumbs
1 Egg
1 TBspn Mayo
1/2 Tspn Yellow Mustard
2-3 Tsp’s Onion flakes
1/2 Tspn Paprika powder
1/4 Tspn Oregano Optional
1/4 Tspn Thyme
1/8 Tspn Garlic powder
1 Capful Hot sauce
1/8 Tspn Black pepper 
Vegetable oil
A bit of butter
1-2 Slices Pumpernickel bread, cut into squares 
DIY pickle relish or get creative and add your own topping.

Add salmon to medium bowl.
Add breadcrumbs, egg, mayo, mustard, onion flakes and spices. 
Stir and mix ingredients thoroughly.
Refrigerate 30 minutes or more.
Shape mixture into patties.
Add oil and butter to skillet.
Heat skillet to medium-high.
Once oil and butter is hot, add patties.
Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
Check bottom, is it brown and crisp?

Once cooked, remove and reserve on a plate.
Spread mayo over 2 cut bread squares.
Add one slider.
Top with DIY pickle relish.

*Different brands of salmon will change the amount of breadcrumbs you use because some brands are more watery than others. Plus, the amount of salmon may affect the number of sliders you can make.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Frugal Cooking in a Hotel Room During the COVID19 Pandemic

International traveling in Pandemic Times has been interesting.
Got my first COVID19 test. Obviously, it was negative. I was relieved, 14 months of taking precautions paid off.

When I left, both my states were following similar COVID19 patterns of precautions, vaccinations, and reopenings.
In early May 2021, both states were partially reopened. It was interesting to see how individual businesses handled their own partial reopening. For example, in some the places I visited upon arrival like Popeye's and Chik-fil-la there was no in-store seating but at TGIF and other restaurants there was partial indoor seating. Each establishment had clearly marked methods for customer movements to maintain safe distances as well as mask requirements and bottles of hand sanitizers for customer use.
At the hotel, there was a minimal number of staff, I had to be my own bellgirl.

Sadly, my planning for this trip was poor in many areas and I paid a price for that mistake. But, it was definitely a learning experience.
While I knew I’d be staying at a hotel for awhile, I forgot to figure in food expenses and fast food here is expensive and not always healthy.
For example:

Fast Food
$4.29US 1 Chicken Sandwich ($85.39MX @ 19.90)
$2.29 1 Lg Soda ($45.58)
$10.09 1 Bowl of Chicken Salad ($200.86)
$2.99 1 Can of Chickpeas ($59.52)
$2.69 1 Can Baked Beans ($53.55)

$54.50 ($1084.91)
Sample Grocery Prices:
$1.89 1 Large Can of Greens
$1.99 1 Bag of Salad Greens
$3.89 1 Can Chicken (store receipt may be in error)

Not shown, 3 small bags of salad mixes and
2 cans of 7-11 beans.
While I had s/p, sugar, mayo, ketchup, and mustard from carryin meals, couldn’t decide whether to get a spice or which one. I knew I’d miss cinnamon but all I got was a small “lime” of lime juice. Will wait, maybe an idea will come to mind. Later, I used jelly as a spice.

Since I had not planned to “cook” in my room, I had to make do with items in the coffee/tea supplies and any carryin meal items as utensils, plates, and microwave containers. (Sadly, carryin materials equaled massive waste.)
I estimated with the groceries, I could make a minimum of 30 servings, including: fruit, chicken, sardine, or salmon timbales; scrambled egg bread puddings or sandwiches; overnight oats with fruit or jelly; soup and crackers; fruit parfaits; mug O'Banana cake; banana split; mini-cheesecakes; chicken or salmon crazy salads; salsas, fruit lassis; poached egg on plain bread; and more.
I was thrilled, my Chicken Timbale came out great, 2 Tsps canned chicken, 2 Tsps greens, 2 Tsps mushroom soup, 1 egg, 1 torn slice bread, pepper, lime juice, a dollop milk, microwave 3 minutes. Accompanied with hotel tea. Observation: the softer the bread, the more “pudding” like the Timbale.

Really proud of my in-room Crazy Salad with chicken, beets, pineapple chunks, Greens, and peanuts, with wheat crackers and a side of carryin dressing.

Those wheat crackers really came in handy. They made great snacks. Snacks are my weaknesses, so instead of chips, buttered popcorn or snack packs, the crackers were a better choice.
I got lucky, during my five-week stay, most of my meals were made in my hotel room. I kept my carryin and restaurant meals to a minimum. But, I did splurge, in the beginning, with hotel marketplace items. It took me awhile to figure out that the item selection was almost identical to 7-11 items but more expensive. Big lesson.
My favorite in-room meal was pineapple overnight oats.

You can see how useful the hotel soup cans were.
One thing I noticed was the taste of tap water in my state still tastes terrible, so I got an idea, get a bucket of ice and soon it will be water. It worked. The water tasted much better. Also, much better than buying bottles of water.
I enjoyed taking public transit, masks required. In this area of my state, public transit was readily available. But, I was very surprised that the subway was virtually empty every time I took a ride.
As the days passed, the state lowered their pandemic precautions, I could see the effects as more establishments began to hire more people and relaxed some of their precautions. By the time I left, the state had fully reopened and more people were going maskless.

Because I had come to get vaccinated and the timeframe for the 2-dose vaccine was longer than I expected, I did not stop wearing my mask or taking precautions.

I will continue to wear my mask and take precautions in my states until I am assured that the COVID19 pandemic is over. I do this to protect others.
After I got home, I revised my basic hotel groceries list for use at home and for any future need to cook in a hotel or rented room.
Basic Groceries:
2 Cans of fruit
1 Large Box of Raisins
2 Bananas
1 Cucumber
Can of Chicken
Can of Sardines
Can of Salmon
Can of Greens
Can of Mixed Vegetables
1 Lg Bottle of Salsa
1 Loaf of bread
1 Carton of Eggs
1 Carton of Oats
1 Jar of Jelly
1-2 Cans of Soup
1 Carton of Milk or Pkg of Dry Milk or
1 Carton Coconut Creme
1 Brick of Hard Cheese
1 Medium Yogurt
1 Box of crackers
1 Pkg Turkey lunchmeat
1 Pkg Veg Bouillon
1 Lg Pkg Nuts
1 Container of honey
Spices: Black pepper, Cinnamon, lime juice
Luxury Items:
1 Jar Peanut Butter
Chia seeds
1-2 Pkgs Cream Cheese
1 Jar Mayo

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Crazy Salad: Canned Chicken, Apples, Carrots and Radishes

I was looking for recipes that used radishes. I found several and gave this one a try.
It turned out to be a hardy, filling salad.
Crazy Salad: Canned Chicken, Apples, Carrots, and Radishes


2-3 TBspns Canned or Cooked Chicken, diced
1-2 TBspns DIY Dressing (see below) or just Mayo
1-3 Shakes Onion flakes
 2 Medium-Small Radishes, sliced
1-3 Baby Carrots, sliced
1/4 Apple, diced

DIY Dressing:

2-3 TBspns DIY sour cream
1-2 Tspns mayonnaise
S/P to taste


Add chicken to a salad bowl.
Add dressing.
Add onion flakes.
Stir to mix well.
Add radishes, carrots, apple slices.
Mix to combine.
Add more dressing, if desired.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Cleaning Out the Frig

As I cleaned out the frig, it became obvious I had been saving a lot of DIY sauces and other liquid condiments.
Out of 13 jars, I wasn't sure what they all were. I could see the DIY Sour Cream, leftover pickle juice, leftover pineapple juice, leftover olive juices, DIY BBQ Sauce, leftover carry-in red sauce, and mayo dressing.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Refrigerator: Overnight Seeded Oats

Bananas! Thanks to some friends, I have lots of bananas!

I will be happily trying to make the new banana bread, puddings, cakes, bread puddings, cookies, and ice cream recipes I found.
In addition, I love using bananas as a topping.
I have also developed a fondness for overnight oats, thanks to Jack Monroe and others. The various seeds in this recipe make an interesting combination.

Refrigerator: Overnight Seeded Oats
First, make a batch of seed mixture:
Seed Mixture:
4 TBspns Flaxseeds
4 TBspns Sesame seeds
2 TBspns Chia seeds
2 Tsps Cinnamon
A Pinch Salt (Optional)

Other ingredients:
2-3 TBspns Coconut creme
Water as needed
Or Milk or Milk alternative
Toppings: fresh, canned or dry fruit; or nuts; peanut butter; honey; jam; jelly; or syrup.
Make seed mixture.
Add a thick layer of oats on the bottom of a small bowl with lid.
Sprinkle some of the seed mixture over oats.
Add 2-3 TBspns coconut creme.
Add enough water to cover oats.
Add milk or milk alternative to cover oats.
Stir the mixture thoroughly.
Add lid.
Refrigerate overnight.
Upon serving, add additional water, or milk, or milk alternative to moisten oats.
Add topping of choice.

#GERD-friendly @BudgetBytes

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Microwave: Mug O'Sardine and Egg Bread Pudding (Non-dairy)

If you've been reading my blog, you can see I have reduced my focus. I found I liked Toast Toppings, and Mug recipes, especially bread pudding recipes.
In a way, these recipes offer an opportunity to experiment with various ingredient and spice combinations. So, if it turns out to be a disaster, I did not waste much food.

Plus, I feel more confident making bread puddings than I do with baking, at this moment in time.

Also, I have begun to use coconut creme instead of milk or cream in several recipes, this, by accident, makes some of these recipes non-dairy.
This recipe developed when I decided to use some leftover sardines. I grabbed an older Scrambled Egg and Sardine Toast Topping blog post thinking I would use it.
Instead, I decided I did not want to make toast, so I thought, hey, covert this recipe into a bread pudding recipe.

This one’s for you Alex.

Mug O’Sardine and Egg Bread Pudding (Non-dairy)
2 TBspns Sardine juice from leftovers from can of large sardines or a dollop of vegetable oil
1 egg
A Dollop Coconut creme, or milk, or milk substitute
2 TBspns Mashed leftover sardines
2-3 Dashes Onion flakes
1-2 Drops Hot sauce
1-2 Grinds Black pepper, to taste
1 Capful Lime juice
1 Slice Bread, intergral, torn into bits
Topping: A sprinkle of paprika
Variation Topping: a bit of cilantro dressing
  • Add sardine juices or oil to mug.
  • Crack egg into mug.
  • Add coconut creme.
  • Stir and whip mixture well for about 30 seconds.
  • Add sardine mash and lime juice.
  • Stir and mix well.
  • Add onion flakes, hot sauce, and black pepper.
  • Stir well.
  • Add bread bits.
  • Stir and mix well.
  • Place mug in microwave.
  • Cover top of the mug with a saucer.
  • Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  • Check to make sure mixture is fully cooked and not runny.
  • If runny, cook for 30 seconds or more.
  • Once done, use a knife to separate cooked mixture from sides of mug.
  • Tip mixture out onto plate.
  • Sprinkle with paprika.
Variation: drizzle mixture with cilantro dressing.
#GERD-friendly if you don't use the hot sauce and black pepper.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Microwave: Mug O'Banana Cake (Non-Dairy)

I had several over-ripe bananas in the freezer, in order to avoid waste.

What could I do with an over-ripe banana? Obviously, banana bread comes to mind, but could I find a mug recipe?
In my internet search, I got lost in the jungle of banana recipes.

There were banana cake, mug or regular size, recipes.

There were banana bread recipes and banana bread pudding recipes in various sizes.

Plus, I found a Mug recipe for Eggless Banana Cake.

I got confused. Did the recipe call for a banana or a ripe banana or an over-ripe banana? Was the recipe a full-sized recipe or a mug recipe? Did the recipe call for ingredients I did not have or did not use?

There are days when I can’t keep recipes straight and confuse several recipes when I begin preparations. So, it was with caution, I choose one recipe to try.

I got lucky. I choose “Banana Bread Cake in a Mug.” Of course, I made modifications.

Microwave: Mug O’Banana Cake (Non-Dairy)
(Adapted from: https://www.rd.com/food/fun/cake-in-a-mug/)

1 TBspn Veg oil
1 Egg
2-3 Tbspns Coconut creme, or milk, or milk substitute
2 TBspns Sugar
1/2 Over-ripe medium or large banana
1 Slice Bread, multigrain, torn into pieces
1 Capful Vanilla flavoring
1-2 Shakes Cinnamon powder
1 TBspn Nuts, crushed, or Almond slivers (Optional)
1 TBspn Raisins (Optional)
Optional Toppings: fresh fruit, sliced, or dry fruit, or cinnamon, or frosting, or honey

  • In a mug, add oil, egg, and coconut creme.
  • Stir well. Whip for 30 seconds or more.
  • Add sugar.
  • Stir well.
  • Add banana.
  • Stir, mix and whip well.
  • Add bread, vanilla, cinnamon.
  • Add nuts, and raisins.
  • Stir thoroughly to mix all items together. Make sure bread is soaked in liquid. Stir and whip well.
  • Mixture will be like batter.
  • Cover mug with saucer, microwave (1500 kw) on high for 3:30-4 minutes. Saucer may pop off as mixture rises.
    Use knife to separate cake from sides of mug.
  • Tip onto plate.
Topping Variations:
  • Fresh, canned, or dry fruit.
  • Drizzle with honey.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Spread frosting over top of banana cake. See below.
Variation: if you add a frosting, Let the cake cool.

Cut cake in half horizontally.
Spread topping over cake tops.
Sprinkle with cinnamon (optional).


2 TBspns Cream cheese
1 Tspn Confectionery sugar
1 Tspn Sugar
1 Tspn Lime juice
1 Tspn Peanut Butter
1 Capful Vanilla flavoring
1/4 Tspn Ground cinnamon
Place ingredients into a refrigerator container with a lid.
Mix, stir and mash ingredients together until smooth.
After icing the Banana Cake, save any remains in the refrigerator for your next Mug O'Banana Cake.
So many great thoughts came to mind as I made this recipe for the sixth and seventh time.
I should save the seeds that are left in the bread bag for use elsewhere.
I used bananas given to me by a family of friends before they returned to the States to make this recipe several times, which made this cake recipe special.
So, this Banana Cake recipe is a good memory recipe like mom’s green bean casserole, it will always bring a smile.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Refrigerator / Toaster Oven: Polish-Style Sardines on Toast

It’s 2:30 in the morning and I could not get a line of dialogue out of my mind. I had been watching Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s BBC TV show, “Elephant’s Can Remember.” A character in the story had said, “I had sardines on toast.”

Because I enjoy British dramas, I occasionally focus on the food mentioned in the stories.

I laughed, nothing says British cuisine like “Sardines on Toast.” It’s simple, cheap and sounds bland.

But, I like sardines and knew I could find some “fancy” recipes for “Sardines on Toast.”

The recipe I choose (link below) is an enjoyable read. Also, the author provides more information and ideas on ways to make and serve “Polish-Style Sardines on Toast.”
Polish-Style Sardines on Toast
(Adapted from: https://www.everydayhealthyrecipes.com/sardines-on-toast/)


1 Slice Multigrain bread, toasted
Mustard, or Butter, or Veg oil

1 Large sardine from 425g can of sardines
2 TBspns DIY Pickle Relish
1 Tspn Onion flakes
2 Tspns Dry Parsley
1 TBspn Ketchup
1 TBspn Mayo
Salt to taste
Ground Black pepper to taste
1/2 Capful Lime juice

Optional: add diced radishes.


Spread mustard or selected spread on toast.
Place toast on a plate.

In a bowl, add 1 sardine, pickle relish, onion flakes, parsley, ketchup, mayo, salt and pepper.
Mix, stir, and smash ingredients until ingredients are throughly mixed and smooth.

Spread mixture over toast.
Sprinkle with lime juice.
Sprinkle a little parsley on top.
Refrigerate any remaining spread.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Microwavee / Toaster Oven: Mug O'Scrambled Egg Bread Pudding or Toast Topping

Went to the frig, what did I need to use up? There was a cracked egg. There was a bit of salsa and a piece of baguette. Sounds like a bread pudding, to me.

Now, while I am getting better at making dishes from various food items and while they often come out ok, I always assume it will be a disaster.

 Mug O’Scrambled Egg Bread Pudding or Toast Topping


Vegetable oil
Black pepper and Garlic powder
1 Egg
3 TBspns Coconut creme or milk
1-2 Tspns Canned salsa
1 Tspn Dry Thyme, crushed between the palms
1 Small piece Baguette (Approximately 2” in length), torn into pieces
Variation: a slice of toast with a light layer of mayo.
Optional Topping: Cilantro dressing


In a mug, add vegetable oil.
Add black pepper, garlic powder, egg and coconut creme.
Stir and whip ingredients well, for about 30 seconds.
Add salsa, thyme and bread.
Stir thoroughly, so the bread is soaked in liquid.
Cover mug with a saucer.
Microwave on high for 2 minutes.

Note: the saucer may pop off.

Serve straight up in mug, or tip onto a plate, or onto a piece of toast with a light layer of mayo. If on toast, slice egg mixture so that it covers the top of the toast.

I was amazed, the thyme gave this a scrambled egg bread pudding a special flavor. I also tried a bit of Cilantro dressing, while I liked it, I liked it plain, better.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Toaster Oven: BBQ Chicken Rollups

This recipe is an example of how when I find a recipe that inspires me but how I must adapt the recipe when I do not have all the ingredients or the ability to follow the processes like making handmade rolls.

I laughed when I made this recipe because it is like making a sandwich except you roll up the contents in bread.

I agonized over using waxed paper or aluminum to cover the microwave tray to prevent the items from sticking. Isn’t wax paper or aluminum unfriendly to the environment?

During my recent dive into DIY crafts, I was shocked at the amount of waste material one person can accumulate.

I choose aluminum because it can be reused.

Note: this recipe has a few GERD-friendly touches. I try to avoid onions, so when a recipe calls for onions, I use onion flakes but the BBQ sauce and cheeses are not GERD-friendly.

Microwave: BBQ Chicken Rollups
(Inspired by: https://jamiecooksitup.net/2017/03/bbq-chicken-pinwheels/)

From a collection of recipes from: https://www.crazylaura.com/best-pinwheel-recipes/)

For 2 Rollups.


2 slices of bread, flattened or two tortillas
4-6 TBspns leftover cooked chicken, diced
1-2 TBspns BBQ sauce
1-2 Tspns Dry Onion flakes
1-2 TBspns Mozzarella cheese, diced, shredded, or grated
1-3 Tspns Parmesan cheese
S/P to taste

Optional Topping: Cilantro dressing

Note: when using tortillas, double the amount of the other ingredients.


On a cutting board, lay 1 slice of bread.
Trim off crusts.
Use a rolling pin or a tall round glass to roll out the bread slice to flatten it. Roll until you have fully flattened and extended the slice.

In a bowl, add chicken, onion flakes, sauce, cheeses, salt and pepper.
Stir well to mix ingredients.
Add 1 TBspn of the chicken mixture at one end of the flattened slice.
Take that end and roll the mixture and bread forward until you reach the end of the slice.
Lay the roll with the closed side down on a toaster oven tray.

Follow the above steps again for additional BBQ Chicken Rollups.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

When serving, offer Cilantro dressing as a topping.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Toast Topping: Poached Egg & Ham

A relatively simple Toast Topping.
Toast Topping: Poached Egg & Ham
1 slice of multigrain bread toast
Ground Black pepper
2 Drops Hot Sauce
1 Slice of ham lunchmeat, diced
1 TBspn Mozzarella cheese, grated, or shredded, or diced
2 TBspns Water
1 egg
Topping: Cilantro dressing (Optional)
  •  Place toast on a plate.
  • Swipe toast with a light layer of mayo.
  • Sprinkle mayo with ground black pepper.
  • Add drops of hot sauce on top of toast.
  • Place ham chips evenly on toast.
  • Add layer of cheese over mayo and ham.
  • Place plate with toast and toppings in toaster oven. If it is still warm, let it sit, if cold, turn on toaster setting for about a minute until the cheese melts.
 Make poached egg:
  • Add water to a small microwaveable bowl.
  • Crack egg carefully and gently drop egg into water.
  • Place bowl in microwave.
  • Cover.
  • Microwave on high for approximately 30 seconds.
  • Remove bowl using a pot holder.
  • Remove toast from toaster using a pot holder.
  • Use a slotted ladle to lift egg gently out of water. Tip ladle a little to drain off water.
  • Add egg on top of cheese and ham.
  • Sprinkle with more ground black pepper.
Option: Add a dribble of Cilantro dressing.