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 on an Icy Night

My church has been working for months to organize their fund-raising auction that was supposed to be TONIGHT. But instead we are in the middle of the massive spring storm that is scrubbing the nation from Oklahoma to I don’t know where next. The wind is howling; rain is sleeting into snow over a glaze of ice.

So the auction is postponed until next Saturday evening. I have put in so many hours (as have many other) working towards this event in the past weeks - that being quietly at home not working on it makes me feel as if I won a lottery. 

Two Chickens and a 3-Legged Lamb

Mindful Chickens? We are frugal so that our retirement savings will last as long as we do. At the same time we try to consume responsibly so that our choices have the least negative impact on our fellow humans and on our earth and its creatures.  Cheep, Cheap!

Did you have a nice weekend? Did you get to share a meal or a chocolate egg or a PEEP with a friend or a child or a childish friend?

Other Peoples' Mindful Chickens

I regularly read blogs about being frugal.  I like them because they are about people taking as much control of the quality of their life as they can within the many different circumstances in which people live.  I especially love the letters people write listing what they did in the past few days to be careful and thoughtful about what they spend and how they save.

Retired Chicken Observations 3/22-2018

Two things I have been thinking about lately. Both are related to retirement income and retirement adventure.

1. Last week Len and I went to our Social Security office to sign me up for Spousal Benefits.  It took me several run-throughs to understand what “spousal benefits” are. Since then I have talked to several other people who were also unclear on the concept.

My confusion was this. I was already getting Social Security based on my earnings when I worked (as opposed to what I did when I stayed home and raised kids. But let’s not go there now. Grrrr.)

Franc’s Wildly Successful Life

This is a long piece of writing and I am proud of it. If you don’t want to read it all – here are my take-way points about how my friend Franc lives well on a surprisingly small income:

Mindful Chickens 2/24/2018

1.  We did it!  We called, explained what we thought we needed to do, made appts, were home for the appts, rec’d the estimates about - fixing the gutters and getting the house painted.  I think one of the reasons we usually do it ourselves is because this process is so daunting and time consuming.

The gutter guy is coming next week; we are looking forward to no rivulets when it pours. 100-year old houses built on non-waterproofed rubble foundations, like George Washington, cannot lie about what’s happening outside your basement walls.

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