Where’s the Beef?

I heated up a frozen dinner, Korean-style beef with vegetables and rice. Come to take off the covering film, there’s no beef! Delicious vegetables and rice, but no beef. I just got off a live internet chat with a rep at the site given on the package. They’re sending me coupons for a couple free meals.

When something isn’t right, let the manufacturer know.

When something is great, let the manufacturer know.


The Trick to Freezing Milk

The key to successfully freezing and later using milk is in the thawing. If you start pouring the thawed part before the whole container thaws, the taste and texture will be different than you expect. Let the whole container thaw, then shake it up good before drinking.

Before putting the container in the freezer, make sure there’s room for the milk to expand as it freezes.

The Magic of Craigslist

Now and then I look at the Free section of my local Craigslist and mentally furnish a life from it. If you’re starting out or starting over, it might be worth renting a truck and spending the day retrieving the free household goods in your area.

Today I could go and get several couches, chairs, a nice wooden table, three chair-style barstools, a king size mattress and box spring, a large china cabinet, a hutch, an Ikea dresser, a section of kitchen cabinetry, two old-style televisions, a box of VHS tapes, some hardcover books, a box of packaged foods, three different exercise machines, a patio table, lots of firewood, a large birdcage, kittens, and some tropical fish.

To find your local Craigslist, Google “Craigslist” and the name of your town.

As with any used items, examine furniture closely for signs of bedbugs or mold. These are free items, given away by the owners, so there’s no guarantee and no delivery.



The Rest of the Can

The recipe calls for a tablespoon of tomato paste. The can contains more than that, and you don’t need the rest. Consider freezing a tablespoon each in ice cube tray compartments. Once it’s solid, you can decant it into a plastic freezer bag, ready for the next time you need tomato paste.

This works for many things. The rest of the condensed milk. The yolk of the egg when you only needed the white, and vice versa. Chopped vegetables when you had to buy a whole pepper or onion and only needed part of it.

Leftover coffee, milk, creamer, juice. . . .

Fresh fruit you need to use up.

The possibilities are nearly endless.

BOGO vs. Half-price

Where I shop for groceries, Buy-One-Get-One literally means you must buy one to get one–you have to take two of them. Where the two three-dollar items would have cost six dollars, on a BOGO you pay a total of three dollars for the two of them.

If you don’t need two, well then you can pay full price for one, or take two and freeze one, or donate one, or share with a neighbor.

On the other hand, if the pricing says “Two for $5,” the chances are you can buy just one and pay only $2.50 for it. Stores have different policies on two-for-one pricing, so ask at the service desk before assuming.

Eggs on Sale After Easter

Now’s the time to help the stores clear their excess holiday eggs at sale prices.

Omelets for dinner, French toast for breakfast, egg salad sandwiches for lunch.

Eggs freeze well, and stay good in the freezer for up to a year. crack them out of the shell, and either freeze them individually in ice cube trays first, or mingle them in containers, depending what future use you intend.



Many baby-boomers are now presiding over empty nests. What if you haven’t yet gotten the hang of cooking for one or two instead of a crowd?

Go ahead and buy that roast. Have it for dinner with the usual side dishes the first night.

Cut slices for sandwiches, and freeze them in one- or two-day quantities, and you’re ready to make lunches easily.

Chop some of it, add vegetables and gravy, and you’ve got stew.

Take the leftover stew and bake it in a pie shell for pot pie.

A little change, a little addition, and each new meal isn’t just plain leftovers, it’s a new dish.