December 2010 - Posts - Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller
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Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller

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December 2010 - Posts

  • Solutions to the same old stale problem.

    Sometimes when you've been stretching dollars for years, as many of us have, it seems like we face the same old stale problems over and over again. We face the choice of either to spend money on better clothing or tune up the car. We face the choice of buying the higher quality item for a slightly higher price and hope it lasts longer and does the job better or buying the less expensive item to save the money on hand.

    I'm sorry, but I don't have solutions for these stale old, repeating problems....I wish I did....they seem to be repeaters or at least similar to so many that we face.

    I DO however have solutions to some legitimate 'stale' problems....of course in the food category.

    By now you may know that if it smells fine and isn't growing anything on it, I'm going to find a way to still use food. But just what do you do when things go stale? Some things just don't work when they are little bricks rather than biscuits, right? Well, there is a solution. Actually there are a number of solutions for the same old stale problems of stale foods....

    Let's look at some items that go stale and the solutions to saving them rather than tossing them away:

    Stale crackers or cereals: When these items go stale they are actually moist, chewy, bland and not enjoyable as a food at all! Just lay crackers out or pour cereal from the box on a cookie sheet and place in a 200 degree oven for 15 -20 minutes or in a dehydrator for an hour. Then as soon as the crackers or cereal have become room temperature again (not warm at all) put in air tight bags and use as usual.

    Rice Crispies, Hard cookies or biscuits:  Did you leave the biscuits out and they got rock hard and are good now only for playing hockey? Do you risk breaking a tooth? No! Any baked good that has become too dry can be softened up (without a microwave) by putting it in either a plastic bag that can seal tight or under a cake dome with a half of an apple. That's right, slice an apple in half (preferable use the other half) and place among those hockey pucks or brick crispies under glass or in plastic and in a few hours - Tah-Dah! Moist and soft again!

    Stale Loaf or French Bread: There are so very many options for still using bread that can be sliced even once it's gone stale. Make French Toast; make croutons; make bread pudding; make bread crumbs - get creative with bread that may have gone stale and use it up. 

    Don't give up on food too quickly, but no matter what you do to find a solution to the same old stale problems with some foods, be sure they are free from mold. 


    This has been just a little 'out of the bread box' thinking brought to you by my frugal brain!

    Best Blessings and remember to enJOY the journey!

    Donna Miller


    The Millers own and operate Millers Grain House which offers Chemical Free and Organic Grains, Grain Mills, Bread Machines, Grain buckets, Bosch Mixers, the NutriMill, instructional tutorials, recipes and more.

  • Planning meals to two time left-overs to left-littles...

    In our house, we don't throw away much of any food. We've been on such a tight budget at times that the thought of waiting even the one tablespoon of sour cream from the edges of the container make me wince in pain! Just ask our daughters! That was a topic of conversation as we cleaned up from dinner the other night. 


    How do we do it? With much practice, creativity and ingenuity. Okay, it is actually out of necessity.


    If you're a 'planner' you can even plan them, but if you're not, you can still 'wing it' and enjoy going from a planned meal, to a left-over, that also turns in to a leftover and then a left-little (which is what we call it when it won't feed the family, but is more of one serving).


    Here are two examples:


    The ominous Thanksgiving Turkey...

    • Left-over one - Turkey from Thanksgiving turned into Cream of Turkey Soup (among a myriad of other things like Turkey Salad and sliced for sandwiches).
    • Left-over two - Then the left-over Cream of Turkey Soup turned into a Turkey Pot Pie (one more can of condensed soup added, pour in Pyrex dish, top with crust)
    • Left-little finale - Then the left-little was lunch for two people another day that week.

    Spaghetti Sauce....(I always plan to make a lot)

    • Left-over one - The extra sauce and even noodles can be a Spaghetti Bake! Toss SOPME sauce together with some mozzarella, the noodles and parmesan cheese then top with homemade croutons, baked and enjoyed with sour cream topping!
    • Left-over two - Left-over spaghetti sauce (that didn't get poured over the Spaghetti Bake) turns into Tex-Mex Chili (just add some cumin, chili, and kidney beans) top with shredded cheese!
    • Left-little finale - If there is not enough Spaghetti Bake left to feed the family again, it does travel and heat well for lunch. Whether it is left-over Tex-Mex Chili or Sauce itself - it makes a great soup base using a LOT of veggies and either a beef or vegetable broth base. OR one of my favorites is to mix the left-little amount with Ricotta cheese, spinach and garlic then stuff in large jumbo pasta shells and bake. 


    Stretching your food dollars can actually be a fun and creative adventure! Embark on your own and share some ideas! I'd LOVE to hear them!


    For more food stretching ideas - see my videos at - 

    For free frugal healthy recipes - get on the newsletter -



    As always - Best Blessings and enJOY the journey!

    Donna Miller


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