Mary Beth Writes

This is not a recipe blog. You may sometimes wonder what kind of blog this is, but I bet you have figured out we’re not here to cook. Still, sometimes I come across amazing recipes and today I want to share two of them,by referring you to the sites where I found them.

How do I find these sites, you ask? 

Simple. Google the name of two or three ingredients you would like to use up. This takes you to recipes that use those foods; you decide if you want to try them.

Sometimes this Wild Exploration doesn’t work. The roasted sweet potato and carrot soup two weeks ago was a recipe that didn’t fledge.

But these two are good and I’ve made them several times.

The first is for Tuna, Bulgur, and Caper salad. http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/bulgur-salad-with-tuna-and-capers/3461/

Yes, I had bulgur in the pantry. I can’t remember why I bought it in the first place, maybe for tabouleh. Bulgur is cracked and par-boiled wheat berries - so if you are gluten-intolerant this probably won’t work for you (maybe with barley?) Bulgur is not expensive. The four main flavors in this recipe that make it so amazing are the roasted bulgur, tuna, lemon, and capers. You will see there are other flavors; garlic, onion, and whatnot.  I don’t think I’ve used ALL the proper ingredients exactly as listed yet. Worse, I tend to use lemon juice from a bottle (the horror!) instead of from fresh lemons. Still tastes awesome.

This is an interesting explanation of bulgur: http://sanaacooks.com/2013/02/what-do-you-know-about-bulgur-tomato-bulgur-pilaf/  Four- and five-year olds chasing crows off the roof?  All the ones who don’t fall off must really enjoy this.

Anyways, I don’t top this dish with the tuna, I mix it in. Fresh herbs are great. Dried will work.

There is a LOT of nutrition in bulgur; protein, magnesium, Vitamin-6, and a lot of iron – all those things female bodies (especially) need to make healthy blood and healthy bones. Add in the tuna and the other sprightly ingredients, a person could handily make this for fast lunches or to bring as a salad or side dish to dinner at someone’s house. (Well, only if they invite you first, I suppose.)

About capers. You can buy them in your grocery store capers aisle (next to the mad-cap rom-coms). OR you can save upwards of $1-3 per year by gathering nasturtium seed pods at the end of summer; put them in a jar of cider vinegar in the refrigerator. I chop the capers to get that piquant caper- flavor in every bite.

I’ve been waiting for an occasion to use the word piquant.

I’ve made this for company dinners several times, as well as for just us.  http://www.sarahwaldman.com/artichoke-tart-with-polenta-crust/

Polenta isn’t hard to make, you just need to hang out in your kitchen so you can follow the instructions and stir the cornmeal mush every two minutes.  To get the polenta into the tart pan (or cookie sheet, or the bottom of a sheet cake pan); oil your fingers to simply just push, flatten, and then build up the crust edges.

I’ve made this with goat cheese but also with cheaper feta; canned artichokes, parmesan out of the green canister. This stuff is elegant and also – wait for it - piquant.

Sometimes the world gives us way too much high fructose corn syrup and drive-through salt and all the rest of those things that taste so good going down, but are not, in the long run, our friends.  I thought I’d share possible foods that are just as addictive - which are actually healthy for us and our kids and our friends.

Do you have unusually delicious, healthy, inexpensive and fancy recipes?

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Mindful Chickens - The Snickerdoodle Edition

1. When we were sick in January (with flu and cold) Len used the CVS card that I had signed up for last year and then barely used.  He bought several OTC medicines plus a cool-mist vaporizer using that card, which saved us 20%. That was helpful.

2. While I was under the weather I signed up for Starz in order to binge-watch an Outlander season.  After I watched TV for two days I canceled the subscription, thus paying nothing.  This is the third year I have done this.  Why do they let me do this??

Frugal Stuff/ Flu edition 1/22/2018

1. I donated blood Friday morning. This is a free mini-checkup every two months; they take your pulse, temperature, blood pressure, and check your hemoglobin levels (iron). They send your blood to be checked for various diseases such as Lyme disease, West Nile, and Zika.

DO NOT donate blood in order to determine if you have a disease or not. If you think you might be ill, go to a doctor or clinic and deal with it. 

But, if you (like me) need an extra reason to be generous, the screening to give blood is not a bad perk.

Health Insurance when you are laid off

Pals, I was reading letters at a website I look at often. A woman wrote that her 62-year old husband had been unexpectedly laid-off from his job. She said she didn't know where to begin to think about health insurance (and a lot more).  I talked to Len.  Man, we have been here.
This is what Len wrote. This answer is too long to post on someone else's website so we are sharing it here. 
...
Says Len:
You are in a difficult situation.

Mindful Chickens - Frugal Stuff 1/11/2018

1. We bought a car!! We bought our (former) 2006 Mercury Milan and 2004 Ford Ranger around 2006-2007.  Len is a very good vehicle dad – they lasted this long. The truck is still reliably chugging along; we sold it to a neighbor. However it became apparent a few weeks ago that the Milan could no longer take care of itself. Sigh. 

We talked about what kind of car we wanted in the past few weeks. Len did on-line research, finding cars we might like to try.  We decided we would spend part of two days test-driving these several makes of cars.

"Must-Haves" 1/10/2018

A friend (Thanks, Carol) tweeted this.  

“The term “must-haves” is profoundly unsettling to me.”

For those of us trying to live both frugally and thoughtfully – Yup!

I looked into the website she was responding to; it was coupons for:

Mindful Chickens 12/27/2017

1. Update: Only giving and receiving food items with our (adult) kids on Christmas was as fun as anything.  (http://www.marybethdanielson.com/content/not-buying-presents-christmas-what-fresh-hell) Receiving MY OWN PERSONAL BUTTERSCOTCH PIE was astounding!  In order to enjoy my whole pie without dying of Adult Onset Gluttony, I have made a pie chart (hah) which is on the counter next to the fridge. I am enjoying one piece of pie per day, which means I should be done next Monday.

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