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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Uses for cereal

Making use of everything is what my grandmother taught me at a very young age.  Moma as I called her, would not allow anything to make it's way into a pail for the chickens until after all attempts were made to use it first.  Mama was a young mother during both world wars, the food rationing, and the depression too.  She had to live frugally for her children's sake.  I must say she was very good at it! 

For example:

Egg shells were used to "clear" coffee before being used to scour pots before finally being given to the chickens.  Egg shells were Mama's homemade version of powdered cleanser.  She scoured pots with the egg shells but did not add soap to it because she knew the chickens would be eating it.

Leftover coffee grounds were used to stuff chair pads to sit on or stuffing rag dolls or put into pin cushions instead of simply going to the compost pile.  Sometimes the coffee grounds were used to clean her homemade rugs.  The rugs were taken outside.  We lay them out on the grass and spread coffee grounds over them.  We rubbed the dry grounds over the rugs with a broom sort of like using carpet cleaner today.  Then the rugs were hung over a fence and pounded with the broom to shake the grounds off.  I remember Mama would dry rose petals too.  She added the dry petals to the coffee grounds sort of like a freshener is added to carpet cleaner today.

Meat bones of all kinds were saved.  Fish, raccoon, chicken, beef, squirl, rabbit, pork, it didn't matter.  The bones were roasted, then pounded to break them up a little, then simmered for hours on the stove to make stock and gel.  After straining off the stock and gel, the bones were ground to a powder which was then put on the garden as bone meal in the spring.  Papa did the bone grinding chore.

When Mama cooked potatoes she scraped them instead of peeling them.  She did the same for other root crops like carrots.  Scraping takes off far less of the usable part of vegetables.

Almost everyone has heard of using stale bread as an extender.  Like mixing for a casserole topping or a part of meat loaf.... right?  Well Mama also used stale cookies and muffins as extenders in her baking.  She didn't want to waste the sugar or honey she had used to make the first cookies sweet.  There were rarely leftovers of sweets in her house but when there were, she used them again as extenders in new dishes. 

I've renewed my commitment to honor the things my Grandmother (Mama) taught me.  For far too many years I've fallen for the commercial hype to spend, spend, spend.  I think she would be very proud of me for finally learning my lessons and living the way she always hoped I would. 

One of the things I've gotten from the food fairies is an abundance of cereal.  Far more cereal than I care to eat as cold cereal.  Have you ever heard of using corn flakes as a coating for chicken when cooking it?  Have you ever heard of using bread crumbs as a coating?  Ok, sure, you probably have.  Well, there are two types of cold cereal.  There are the sweetened types.

And there are the non-sweetened types. 

Rather than waiting until I have a need of cereal for a coating; then crushing only what I need at the time.  I decided to make it all at once and it's ready whenever I need it.  I took all the extra boxes of cereal and ran them through my new mixer's grinding attachment.  I made two types.  One sweet and one regular.

Four boxes of cereal were reduced down to two quart jars.  What a space saver that is!  The sweet cereal will be used as an extender in deserts like cake or pudding.  The regular will be used as coating mix for meat or used in dishes like meatloaf and casseroles. 

I call them sweet and savory.  I can add more to these as I get more stuff.  For example, when my bread gets stale, I can add to the savory.  When the commodity program starts giving us oatmeal instead of cold cereal I can add some of that to the savory too.  If the food fairies ever leave me too many cookies, I'll add them to the sweet extender. 

The most important thing about making the sweet and savory extender is..... USE IT!  It won't do any good to make extenders just to let them sit on the shelf. 

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