Category Archives: Finances

The Organized Caregiver

At some point in your life you are likely to be a caregiver for someone or on the receiving end of caregiving. At the present time, when you are not allowed to accompany the person into the hospital to help them provide needed information, perhaps having some ready records placed where they can be easily found would be a wise way to make January/February “Get Organized Month”. Continue reading

Making a Little Go a Long Way

Having had a life-long practice of thrift, I haven’t found living on a fixed income as a senior citizen difficult at all. Perhaps this is the time to share some of these practices.

What you can do with a bag of dried beans:

  • save out half a cup of beans to plant and have your own supply
  • make the usual Saturday night baked beans, or do what I do…
  • make Pot Beans by soaking the beans overnight until swelled, then place in a large pot with fresh water to cover; add an onion and cook on the stove top until very soft – even mushy. I then ladle these – beans & liquid into straight-sided canning jars and freeze them. I then have them to use for:
    • bean burgers
    • chili
    • succotash
    • additions in small quantities to many soups, casseroles, etc.

Making meat go further:

  • I extend meats by slow cooking until they can be pulled apart with a fork. This works well with pork, beef, and chicken breasts. I usually add some barbecue sauce and serve over toast or noodles, or added to a homemade soup. With ground beef I no longer make hamburgers but, instead, cook it with some taco seasoning and divide it into portions, adding some to spaghetti sauce, chili, pizza topping, soups. Sometimes I turn it into meatloaf and I even extend that into small portions in other dishes.
  • A roast chicken is a bonanza of additional meals. The initial one is a delicious roast with its crispy skin. It then also appears as chicken salad and finally as delicious chicken soup stock when it gets down to the carcass with just a little meat left on it. I place it in a large stock pot, cover with water, add celery and onions and cook on the stove top until the meat comes away from the bones. I strain out the bones and skin but keep any pieces of the meat. I freeze them in various plastic containers. My freezer always has ingredients for putting together a soup. I keep on hand some store bought cans of cream of chicken soup  to add a creamy quality to the soup.

No leftovers go to waste:

Everything in the fridge has a potential second life.

  • Faded vegetables and salad greens can be turned into soup stock…just place in a pot and cover with water, cook until everything can be pierced with a fork, then strain out the limp vegetation and save the liquid in jars in the freezer or pressure can if you’re set up to do it.
  • leftover pickle juice can be used for submerging leftover veggies like green beans.
  • I make lots of quiches and frittatas to use up scraps of meat and veggies.
  • My secret ingredients are feta cheese and pitted Calamata olives to add an exotic quality to mundane ingredients.
  • Everything eventually ends up as soup. I rummage through the fridge and the pantry shelves for interesting combinations. My secret to a great flavored soup is to add anywhere from 2 teaspoons to a tablespoon of cider vinegar near the end of cooking and add salt judiciously until the flavors are just right.

Cooking is an outlet for creativity. Give it a try!