The Key to Frugality: Where’s the Thrill?

I was doing the family books this morning and noticed an  expenditure that looked kind of excessive. I talked to my husband about it, laughed and commented, “You know, we could stop doing that, put the money we’d normally spend on it in a savings account each month, then go on a cruise.”

Yeah, I know, I tagged the post “frugality”, and here I am talking cruises.

There’s a reason for that.

Once your basic needs are met (and yes, being good with money can help with that), being careful with your money is about living deliberately – making sure you actually have what you want to have, and thinking carefully about what that is.

Here’s one: Coffee. I love a good coffee. Do I go out to the coffee store chain and buy it?

Only if I am traveling. I have a Chemex and do my own pour-overs. Shoot, I even used to make them at work rather than buy the coffee available at the café. I’m not getting a lesser thing or doing without something I love. Rather the opposite! What I love is really good coffee, and I know how to make it, so I do.

If what I loved was the experience of the coffee shop, then buying the coffee in the shop would be the better choice.

The thing is, you can’t know where the thrill is until you know where the money is going.

If you want to save money, record every penny you spend

While I do use financial software (I run a small business), a free Google Docs spreadsheet would work just fine. Both my father and my son use a spreadsheet, and it works for them. There are lots of free financial tracking apps available if you have a smartphone. When my husband and I were first married, we didn’t have a computer, and this record was kept on paper. It doesn’t matter what format you use. The point is to write down everything you buy.

Doughnut? Write it down. Classify it as Food. If you really want to get granular, you can break it down as Groceries and Restaurants, but you don’t necessarily have to when you get started.

Maserati tune-up? Write it down. Classify it as Auto. Again, if you’re going for granularity, you could classify it as Auto: Service, but when getting started, you probably don’t need to take it that far.

You can make up classifications that make sense to you but don’t go too crazy with it. The important thing is to make it relatively easy to make this a habit.

At first, it’s not going to seem particularly useful. There will be expenses where you’ll say, “Yeah, but I don’t exactly replace the tires every month. This month was an exception.”

The thing is, after you keep this up over a period of about a year, patterns emerge. You find out that you go out to dinner every two weeks on payday. This is actually neither good nor bad. While we all know that eating out is much more expensive than cooking your own meals, the point isn’t that you should only make the cheap choices.

The point is, are you following a general habit that isn’t really providing a kick for you, or are you doing something you truly and consciously love to do?

You might look at those meals out and say to yourself, “Sure I enjoy it, but I don’t get $200 a month’s worth of enjoyment out of it! I think I’m going to cut back to once a month.”

You might look at those meals out and say, “Oh man, dinner out just makes me smile every time I think about it. I love doing that having people around me and being waited on. In fact, I’m cutting back on buying yarn for knitting, because this is something that’s really worth my time and money to do.”

You might look at those meals out and say, “The thing that gives me a kick for those dinners is the candlelight, the well-presented meal, and the nice place setting.” You’re also a good cook, have a tablecloth, candlesticks, and nice china, so you decide that you’re going to make fancy meals for yourself more often and buy those high-end knitting needles you’ve had your eye on, or put it in savings because what you really want is the security of knowing that if an emergency comes up, you have it covered.

Notice that the different ways of looking at it. In each case, it’s the combination of knowing what you’re doing and what you’re spending plus knowing what it is about it that’s giving you the thrill. In each case, you can make a conscious choice to get the best value out of your money by spending wisely.

Accidental Vegan

I’m going to tell on myself here. I’m all for the whole frugal cooking thing, bringing your own lunch to work, prepping in advance… All that smack.

I haven’t been doing it lately, and when I took a good look at the family budget, I realized that we’re buying lunch at work too damned often. I’m not even going to give the dollar figure here, because it’s might look trivial to some, but for me it’s high enough to be embarrassing.

Anyway, I decided to make up some easy to grab cold salads for us to bring to work. One of them was just your basic chicken salad, which we like a lot. (Yes, not vegan. I know!)

The other one is a Black Bean and Quinoa salad. I’m passing on the recipe because a lot of people are going to parties and cookouts where we might not know the dietary requirements of people there. This particular recipe is not only gluten-free, it’s vegan. Me? I’m a total carnivore, but this is still a favorite lunch ’cause it tastes good.


Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

  • 2 c quinoa
  • 15 oz can of black beans
  • 11 oz can of corn
  • 1 large red pepper
  • ¼ c. chopped onion
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 T olive oil
  • ½ cumin

Cook the quinoa according to directions on package. Allow to cool. Mix with salt and pepper to taste, then add cumin.

Sauté red pepper, onion and celery in olive oil until onion begins to become translucent. Stir into quinoa mixture. Stir in black beans and corn.


Eighty-eight Cent Pizza

I know it’s fashionable to snark poor people who eat a lot of prepackaged food, and I won’t say I am not in favor of cooking for oneself and eating fresh. I had a salad for lunch and old-fashioned oatmeal for breakfast.


Today is Friday. And I didn’t feel like cooking. We had run by the grocery store because we ran out of eggs. In wandering around, we joked about getting a pizza, which I was kind of against (I’m trying to be frugal, what with a kid in college and all) when I ran across this.

It’s a personal pizza. 350 calories. It cost 88 cents. This amused me so much, I bought two for dinner for my husband and I tonight.

Then, I felt like a jerk for being amused.

Now to be honest, I can afford to make a full-sized pizza (oh yeah, I know how and have a good mixer to knead the dough) or really even order one delivered if I want to spend my disposable money that way. Oh, yeah. I have a little disposable money.

Let me tell you, if I did not have any disposable money, that pizza would move from being an attractive and amusing Friday night I’ve-had-a-long-day dinner to a reasonable meal option.

Eighty-eight cents for something moderately tasty that’s got enough calories to be an okay dinner? Uh, yeah!

Eighty-eight cents for something that takes no prep time when I am tired? And I assure you if I had no disposable income I would be exhausted from trying to make ends meet. I mean, get real. I stood in a comfortable classroom or sat in a comfortable office all day today, and I’m still tired. Were I poor, I’d be working a lot harder in a much more physically exhausting environment. Uh, yeah!

Eighty-eight cents to have something I mentally tag as a treat that I could possibly afford to give my kids? Uh, yeah!

Now, I’m not poor, and in general, I am not too tired to make at least a veggie-egg scramble or something equally “okay” with the whole food puritans. I’ve got knife skills, and it would have taken me no longer to make huevos rancheros than it did to wait for that pizza to cook.

But on the other hand, those huevos rancheros would cost a bit more than eighty-eight cents a serving. I’m lucky enough it doesn’t matter to me, but there are people in the world it does matter to.

I believe in cooking from scratch and whole food, but I don’t have it in me to snark the eighty-eight cent pizza.

Not Quite Rags

I don’t use paper towels to clean up anything but mess from a pet. While yes, you could call it an environmental thing, I use cloth for cleaning the same as I use cloth napkins for everyday.

I find buying stuff specifically to throw away a waste of money. If you can safely wash it and reuse it for cleaning purposes, it’s cheaper to do so. You can find all kinds of cleaning cloths out there that’ll last years.

I don’t find most commercial cleaning cloths sturdy enough for my liking, so I make my own out of worn-out towels. I have a couple of sets that have been getting frayed around the edges and have ample newer ones, so it’s time to make a cleaning cloth.

I got the idea from Is There Life After Housework? by Don Aslett. You take a rectangular piece of cloth – preferably something strong and absorbent. Old cotton towels are great for this, and so are old diapers.

The cool part is that instead of rags, you make a tube out of the cloth. By folding, you get a pretty sturdy cleaning surface, and when it gets a bit dirty, you can refold and turn it inside out for fresher cleaning surfaces. When you’re done, toss in the wash, no biggie.

Since I use towels for this, I’ll show you how I do it.

So by folding a towel in half widthwise, cutting then doing the same again to the two halves you’ve generated, then cutting those four pieces in half again, you can get eight pieces of cloth out of your old towel.

And there’s no reason in the world not to go ahead and use them as cleanin g rags right then, of course. If that’s your thing, go for it.

I like the tubes, so I go a little further and sew up these babies.
I do use a zig-zag stitch along the long edge, or use a serger to finish what will be the open edges of the tubes. It makes them last longer instead of falling apart from fraying and leaving fluff everywhere. Notice I used black thread on the old pink towels I used. I confess this was not done for contrast and an example, but out of sheer laziness because I didn’t feel like bothering to match the thread for cleaning supplies. You want yours to look pretty, go ahead and show me up. J

After I’ve finished the long edges, I go ahead and sew them into tubes using a zig-zag stitch. I do this for strong seam with a bit of self-finishing on one go. They’re meant or cleaning, so I don’t feel like it’s necessary to spend an extraordinary amount of time on them. Eight in a half hour is plenty enough time to spend.

These cloths also make great potholders. The double layer of thick cotton cloth is pretty good at protecting from heat.

As long as it’s not damp.

Here’s the set I made today. Did it because most of the old ones I made ten years ago have frayed apart from heavy use and I’m on a spring cleaning spree.

Does Cooking in Advance Save You Money?

My primary motivation for prepping freezer to crock pot meals is not to save money. Please don’t faint.

I do it to save time during the week.

It does save money. It saves a lot of money.

I did not do much in the way of freezer to crock pot cooking this November and December. In looking at my budget book, I spent an embarrassing amount of money on groceries. Yes, yes, it was the holidays. Yes we cooked things we don’t ordinarily. Yes, we ate out more. But when I looked at what we spent on food for December 2013, I cringed. Even with the inflation factor, I’ve fed four adults and two kids on less, and my household only has three adult appetites at present.

The problem was two-fold. I didn’t make bento as often as I ordinarily do, so we bought lunches more than we should have. I also did not have any freezer meals ready. We were busy, so that meant more expensive convenience food items and more eating out.

You see that picture? That’s going to make about 20 dinners – meals for weeknights and some leftovers for various lunches. Let’s say five meals person per crockpot full. I spent $200 on the food. This wasn’t cheating by shopping from a semi-stocked home pantry. That sucker was bare. I even had to restock my spices.

Friends, when I do the math, I find it comes out to $2 a meal for people who are not light eaters. Please understand that I’m not claiming I’m feeding the family on $200/month. We’ll spend another $150 or so on food for breakfast, lunches and weekends if we’re not feeling excessively frugal.

That’s still significantly less than I spent on food for December! So yes, doing the prep-ahead thing saves money like you would simply not believe until you do it.

I would also like to point out the picture on the right. My artist husband likes to draw illustrations on the family calendar. He is gently needling me for pointing out that bento are really just food in a box.

I suppose I should have said meals in a box. Doughnut holes are breakfast, right?

Waffling on the LunchBlox

Okay, so bento are becoming more of a thing in the US as we move away from brown bagging it.* To that end, Rubbermaid has come out with some containers called LunchBlox. The one to the right is the sandwich version, but they made a salad-style one and another that’s flat and meant to fit into tall insulated lunch bags.

I do like the idea and think it’s cool that they’re being made. I’m all about bringing your own lunch to work or school, reducing waste with reusable containers and all that smack. And hey, bento is my hobby, so of course portable meal containers are going to be of interest to me.

I’m also not going to buy it.

I’ve been eyeing these damn things for months, contemplating getting one. What finally decided me was a comment I made when I was examining the little containers (stop laughing at me, it’s no worse than stamp collecting) on shopping trip yesterday. I was examining one, and my husband asked me when I was going to stop doing this every week or so and buy the darn thing.

“I want one. Thing is, if I buy it, I’ll use it twice, then go back to my usual bento box. They don’t fit in my laptop tote and wouldn’t fit in a purse, either.”

They have a volume capacity of nearly twice my usual bento –4.5 c to the 2.5c capacity of the bento. (1135ml to 591ml). Sure, if you’re going to have a sandwich for lunch, you’re going to want that. Bread is fluffy and isn’t well suited to the small-capacity bento boxes I use. Salad? Yep, lettuce takes up a lot of room.

But for me, part of the whole appeal of bento is that it is a small, filling meal that doesn’t take up much space. It’s not even necessarily a fascination with Japanese food. I mean, I love rice and all, and onigiri are delicious, but the example of a bento I’m using here is actually has two muffin tin Shepherd’s Pies. The tiers stack on top of each other and are about six inches by three inches when wrapped up to be tossed into a tote or purse.

So, while I applaud the idea that the bento concept is becoming popular in the US, I am still going to be using my more compact containers.

* I can’t recall ever putting a lunch in a brown bag unless we were on a field trip. It was considered wasteful when lunch boxes served perfectly well. Was that more of a thing than I knew?

Ten Bags o’ Dinner, One Hour, and Serious Savings

Two Men with long ponytails in the kitchen prepping food
My husband and son. Teamwork is so awesome.

My husband, son and I took about an hour to make dinner for ten weeknights.  Yep, that’s right.  We were able to do that in an hour.  How?

Well, certainly teamwork counts, but it is also because when we’re really busy and we rely on the crock pot most weeknights. None of us really wants to come home after a long day and cook, and all of us have busy days.

So we take an hour an prep a few Bags o’ Dinner on various weekends.  To make this go smoothly, what we will usually do is choose five recipes that we like and work well in the crock pot, then double them so we’re doing two bags of each.  Spend two or three weekend mornings doing that, and you’re all stocked up with an adequate meal variety for a long time.

Bowls of food and candles
The candles are because they help burn off the eye-watering fumes of onions. You can use a food processor to get around this as well.

When we decide on meals, I will often make a list of what goes in each recipe so that we can streamline prep work.  Ferinstance, every meal we chose to make had onion in it.  It just made sense to figure out how many onions those ten bags needed and do ’em all at once.  While this sort of prep work does use up all your various bowls to hold chopped and prepared ingredients, it makes it a lot easier when it comes to assembling those gallon freezer bags.

Ten freezer bags with meals in them.
Ten bags of food ready to have the air pressed out, flattened, and frozen.

Once everything is chopped, any hamburger is browned and drained (I tried it without the browning step once and found the meals far too greasy), you can start adding ingredients to the bags.  I go with heavy things first like beans or meat.  It helps the bags stand up and makes adding other ingredients much easier.

Ideally, I try to make meals with several ingredients all of them will have, so I would do a hamburger session, then a chicken session.  I didn’t do that this time, and just made two meals based on hamburger and three based on chicken.

Two flattened gallon bags with meals in them to be frozen.
Taco stew and white chili. Two family favorites.

Some people use crock pot liner bags and freeze their meals in the shape of their crock.  If that’s what works for you, I see no reason not to run with it.  I don’t do that, though.  I freeze my meals flat.  Since I don’t use a chest freezer, I need to be able to fit all the meals I make in the freezer on top of the fridge.   Flat works better for that.  I am very careful to label what we do.  After it’s frozen, you’ll have a devil of a time telling the difference between three or four tomato-sauce based meals.    Don’t try. Label them.

I usually take a meal out to thaw the night before, then dump it in the crock pot before work in the morning, turn it on low and forget about it until I get home.  Lately, if the meal needs to be served with rice or pasta, my son will take care of making that in time for his father and I get to get home from work.  If you don’t have someone to make these things for you, yes, a little prep work will need to happen before dinner.  Just not much.

So, how do these meals taste?

Two gallon bags with food, flattened and ready to freeze.
Spaghetti and Malaysian curry.

They’re good.  Are they like the most amazing gourmet treats you could possibly sink your teeth into? Of course not.*  Don’t be foolish.  This is basic, everyday dinner -peasant cooking that’s stewed all day, and that’s what it tastes like.  Then again, ratatouille is a peasant dish, and so are many meals that taste pretty damn good when they’ve cooked a long time.  If you insist on gourmet cooking every night, this is not for you.   This is your guardian against fast food because you’re too damn tired to cook.  This is when you don’t want to (or can’t) spend a lot of money on restaurants, but just don’t have the time to make something every night.  For my family, we really either do this or have a rota for who wears the chef’s hat that night. We’d all rather just take an hour and get it done than have to cook every third night.

Coq au vin in a gallon bag
Coq au vin. Don’t bother. This is the only time I ever made it and it totally wasn’t worth it.

People keep asking for recipes and the link has a couple.   But really, anything that works in a crockpot will work with this.  Some people say that potato-based recipes don’t work well when you freeze them, but my curry has potatoes in it and does great.  So does the beef stew we made last week.

However, if you need recipes or shopping lists, you can check these links out.  The taco stew came from one of them, though I forget which.  Happy hunting! 🙂


*Except for the curry.  The curry is awesome. 



Back to Bento

I’m going to be working in a commercial office regularly for the first time in five years or so and one of the things I’m thinking about is lunch. Oh, stop looking at me like that. People do eat lunch at the office every day, whether it’s a sandwich bought somewhere or something brought from home.

My inner Scrooge simply cannot cope with buying lunch every day, so it’s going to be a brought lunch. And that means bento!

The bento to the left is just made in one of those cheap flat 750ml Glad containers. It’s a chicken drumstick (a very common bento meat for me as it’s cheap, easy to cook up and goes well in a bento), broccoli, grape tomatoes, fried rice left over from dinner that night, Cucumbers to separate the meat and rice, some green peppers, a yellow pepper, and some blueberries. I like the way it looks, but I think that particular bento, being assembled from leftovers and prepped-ahead food, might have taken me all of ten minutes to put together.

So, it’s a healthy enough lunch. My husband, who has worked with some of the people I am going to be working with, has commented that his bento were sometimes commented upon, and it might be that people will be interested to learn that I was the one making them. Could be.

Me, while I do make bento partially to satisfy my inner Scrooge, it’s also a morale thing. It feels good to open up a pretty lunch and have this little capsule of specialness during the day. It’s more or less why I make them. They’re like having tea with the silver teapot or using the good china for dinner.

The Bean Factor in Frugality

Quart mason jars with black beans, white beans, red beans, and mixed beans
Aren’t they pretty in the jars?

We’re expecting a snowstorm here where I live and it’s coincided with time for a big shopping trip. No, we didn’t go shopping for Snowmageddon. But I did get enough materials to make a bunch of freezer meals for the household.

I like this a lot better than Once a Month Cooking, I have to admit. I guess I just like things cooked reasonably fresh in the crock pot.

But one of the big reasons I’ve been keeping on with doing it is that my husband is fond of it. I was away from home last week, and those freezer meals made life a lot easier on my husband and son. Oh sure, both of them can cook a meal just fine, but when you’re gone all day, there’s nothing quite so nice as dumping a meal in a crock pot in the morning and coming home to it being cooked that night. Anyone who is busy loves a home-cooked meal they didn’t have to prep while tired, after all.

I’ve been trying to come up with about fifteen different dishes so that I can have a month’s worth of meals in the freezer, if I do two each. I didn’t quite manage it, only coming up with ten. But I’m pretty cool with that. That’s still twenty meals squirreled away that I don’t have to spend a lot of time on during the day.

This has been saving me an enormous amount of money. I’m a little surprised, as I thought I was careful – buying meat on sale, meal planning to sales, buying whole chickens, you name it. The only thing I can figure is that I am more organized and take fewer trips to the grocery store. You do spend less money the fewer times you approach the cash register, I do know that!

Though as I think about it, many of the recipes involved beans, so I’m not buying as much meat, and I’m still getting reasonably hearty meals. They’re great in crock pots and are very inexpensive, especially the way I buy them. Dried beans in my area run about a buck fifty a pound. Cheap, cheap, cheap, as that yields a whole lot of beans. They’re not too hard to deal with, either. If you’re used to canned beans and want to try dry beans, just remember a half a cup of dried beans cooks up to about a 15oz can. Throw ’em in some salted water, bring to a boil and simmer for an hour or so while you do other stuff, then they’re all ready to add to the freezer recipes.

And because every time I talk about freezer meals, someone asks for a recipe, here’s mine for chili. Or at least, I do this sometimes when I feel like it. (In reality, I follow whim when making soups and stews).

Noël’s Occasional Freeze-Ahead Chili

  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb hamburger, browned
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 c. diced bell pepper (color doesn’t matter)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (if you like it spicy. If not, leave it out)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2T. Cumin
  • 1T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2t. black pepper
  • 2t. salt
  • ½ c. dry red kidney beans, cooked (yield cooked will be about a cup and a half or so) or 1 15 oz can red kidney beans
  • (optional) ½ c diced carrots. This is good if you’re trying to sneak vegetables in on picky eaters.

Throw in a gallon freezer bag, and freeze. Thaw out the night before you want to cook it and throw it in a crock pot. If you have any red wine or beer (especially a dark ale) on hand, throw a half a cup or so in with this and then cook on low for 6-8 hours. The alcohol isn’t absolutely necessary, but it gives it a nice flavor.

The Secret to Enjoying Turkey Leftovers

turkeyThere you are you are faced with leftovers from that enormous bird you bought for Thanksgiving and you just don’t know what to do. You like turkey well enough, but good heavens, you don’t want to eat the same thing for a couple of weeks. Neither do you want to waste.

There’s a secret to enjoying turkey leftovers and I’m going to pass it on to you.

Now, my husband and I were all for a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal, but our son was pretty insistent that we have the traditional meal of turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. So, being the mean, cruel and overbearing parents we are….

We had turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie.

I’d bought a couple of small pie pumpkins around Halloween, had used one for pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins. We cooked the last one for the pumpkin pie and had about three cups left over. Some of that is likely to find its way into a soup, but I am seeing pumpkin muffins in our future as well. My son has now learned that making something from fresh pumpkin is pretty easy – chop it in half, scoop out the guts, bake it about an hour, scoop out the cooked flesh and puree. Easy peasy. Nuttin’ wrong with using canned, but we just happened to have a pumpkin sitting there.

Because of my habit of being a tightwad, I had considered buying a turkey breast instead of the whole bird. But at price per pound, the whole bird was an enormously better buy. Even though yes, a 12 pound bird was a bit much for the meal, I know how to make good on leftovers, boy howdy let me tell you what. Even so, we don’t want to get sick of eating turkey, do we?

What’s the secret to enjoying turkey leftovers?

The secret to not getting sick of turkey as a leftover meat, however, is to repurpose it in very flavorful dishes. Sure, sure, a turkey sandwich is delicious, as is turkey salad. But it’s just as easy to use those leftovers in other meals that aren’t quite reminiscent of the American white-bread meal that is Thanksgiving dinner. You want spices. You want strongly-flavored veggies. You want differences in color, presentation and texture.

The bones are going to go for stock, oh yes! If you’ve never tried turkey stock, give yourself a treat. It’s delightfully flavorful and enhances any dish where you’d use chicken stock. We’re not going to do Carcass Soup this year, tasty as it is. Instead, we’re going to use the turkey to make a few freezer meals. We’ll be doing turkey burritos (my family are crazy for burritos), freezing up some bags of diced turkey for stir frys or the (sorta) Puttanesca, and freezing up some bags of diced veggies and turkey for some delicious soups.

Except for the (sorta) Puttanesca, these are great freezer meals as well.

Turkey Burritos

2 ½ c. Turkey chopped fine 1 can chopped green chili peppers
2 t. cumin 1 T. minced garlic
1 small onion, chopped 2 t. pepper
1 t. salt 12 8-inch flour tortillas
1 can refried beans 2 c. shredded cheese (preferably cheddar or a mix of cheddar and Monterey jack)
Sliced Black Olives Salsa
Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 350 and grease large pan.

Sauté turkey with chili peppers, cumin, minced garlic, onion, salt and pepper.

Spread tortilla with ~2 T refried beans, add ~ 2T meat and 2T cheese. Fold sides of tortilla in, and then roll tortilla, being careful not to roll too tightly and tear burrito. Arrange all 12 in pan, and bake at 350 for ~20 minutes. Serve with salsa, sour cream and gorilla nostrils.

If you intend to freeze them, skip the baking wrap well and freeze. When you intend to use them, defrost and freeze according to directions.

Turkey (sorta) Puttanesca

2 ½ c. diced turkey ¼ c. black olives, chopped
¼ c. pitted green olives, chopped ¼ c. chopped onion
1T chopped garlic 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 6 oz. can tomato paste 1T capers
2 tsp. dried red pepper 2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp black pepper Dash salt
3 T olive oil

Set aside turkey breast. Combine all other ingredients but the olive oil and tomato paste. Mix well and let sit to let the flavors marry a bit. Sauté the turkey breast in olive oil, then add the olive, pepper and spice mixture. Sauté until the onion is translucent, then add the tomato paste. Turn to low and cook for about fifteen minutes. Serve over pasta.

Turkey Pot Pie

For pie crust:

2 c. flour 1/3 c. shortening or butter
1 t salt 1/4 c. cold and I mean icy water

For Filling:

2 ½ c. shredded turkey, cooked 2 ½ c. mixed veggies (or one can of Veg-all)
2 cans of cream of mushroom (or celery) soup.

To make the Pie Crust:

Combine salt and flour. Cut in butter or shortening until fine. Add cold water slowly until a stiff dough is formed. Divide dough in half. Roll each half in a 12″ circle. Use one circle to cover the bottom of deep 9″ pie plate. Do not trim edges.

For Filling:

Combine turkey, veggies and cream of mushroom soup. (Gosh, that was hard, wasn’t it?). Dump it all in the pie dish, cover the mess with the remaining circle of pie crust dough, fold the edged together and pinch together around the edges. This is a chance to make it look pretty, if you want. Cut a vent for steam to escape in the top of the pie. (I usually use a fork to poke the words I and You in it and cut a heart out in the center –nauseating, ain’t I?).

If you intend to freeze it, wrap well, label and do so. Then defrost and cook for about 1/2 hour at 425 o or until a nice light brown. If you don’t intend to freeze it ahead, just cook it according to previous directions.

Turkey Curry

2 ½ c turkey, diced 2 medium potatoes, diced
1 c. milk 1 c. plain yogurt
1/4 c. raisins 1/4 c. cashews
1 c. peaches, mango, or apricots 1 15 oz can coconut milk
Olive oil for sautéing 1 large onions
3T garlic 3T sliced fresh ginger
4 T curry powder 4 T. spring water

If you intend to freeze for later, toss all the ingredients but the coconut milk in a gallon freezer bag and freeze flat. When you want to serve it for dinner, defrost, toss in a crock pot for 6-8 hours and serve over rice.

Otherwise, toss in crock pot for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice.