Friday, August 24, 2012

Show and Tell

Frugal Friday

This has been a busy and productive week. For a church Young Women's service project we are making pillow cases for a children's hospital in Omaha. I found wonderful instructions at (sending a big thanks to her for her clarity!). Having found the instructions I cut out fabric for six or seven cases. This is the one I sewed with the girls as a demonstration.

Darling Hippos!
These pillowcases are a great way to use up leftovers, reduce your stash, or save money by using thrift store or yard sale sheets or fabric. The best part of sewing them is that it takes only three seams to make them with NO raw edges inside, so they are sturdy and long lasting.

In another area for frugality, I used up a leftover slice of toast and an English muffin to make bread crumbs for Salmon cakes. My goal is to eliminate waste in my kitchen. I do pretty good, but I want to reduce it even more. Here is one of my methods. After a meal I put the leftover toasted whatever into a (used) bread bag to save for processing. When I'm ready I get out my blender and tear the bread into small pieces and grind them in the blender. Maybe you have a food processor which would work also, I don't have one and have always used my blender. The crumbs can be made at the time you have the leftovers and saved in the freezer, or save the leftovers and make the crumbs as you need them. Works both ways.

(We have such lovely walls in our kitchen!)

Crumbs ready for making Salmon cakes (or patties)

Yummy - ready to be turned over to brown the other side.

Salmon Burgers (or cakes, patties, balls)
1 14.75 oz. can Salmon, drained and flaked
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 - 2 cups bread crumbs (amount depends on how many you're feeding)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried dillweed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Combine ingredients, mix well with your hands, then form into patties. Pan fry in small amount of vegetable oil until browned on both sides. Serve as you would any other burger. For patties or cakes just make them smaller (see picture), for balls just make them round (you get the idea).

We enjoyed these the other night with homemade oven fries.

I like making things from scratch so I can control the ingredients. Recently I decided it was time to finally figure out how to make my own "condensed cream of . . ." soups. A google search came up with lots of ideas and recipes but the one I liked best is found at a wonderful site called Salad-In-A-Jar. I tried the recipe and was totally pleased with how fast, easy and tasty it turned out. I used it in a chicken casserole and thought it tasted better than any store bought. The recipe calls for 8 ounces of evaporated milk which is less than a full can so I looked up how to make my own so I wouldn't waste any from a can. Talk about easy! Instead of the liquid milk, just add 2/3 cup dry milk and 3/4 cup water to the blender with the other ingredients for the cream soup. It was fabulous. Also, I used canned mushrooms instead of fresh (easier to store and have on hand) and black pepper instead of white.

I recognized that this recipe was MSG free, very low sodium and easy to make but as I read all the comments on Paula's blog I realized that I needed to share this with my sister whose daughter eats a gluten-free diet. So this is a great recipe for many different applications. Huge thanks to Paula for developing it and sharing. I think this cream soup recipe would work with other things like chicken, celery, broccoli, asparagus, etc. which will make casserole cooking so much more healthy and frugal. It fits with my desire to store basic ingredients that can be used in many different ways.

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