Friday, April 10, 2015

Surprise! People Like My "Recipes from the Kitchen of a Frugal Non-Cook" (RKFNC) eCookbook

Smashwords has added a new feature: A Daily Sales Report.

My novel El Sueño de Gina has had low sales but after spending months promoting the POD, I went over to Smashwords to see how things were going.

That's when I discovered the Daily Sales Report. To my surprise, it was RKFNC that had some sales from some surprising places:  Sony, Apple, PageFounder, Diesel and the big surprise was Barnes and Noble.

It was such great fun creating the cookbook that I am working on a second edition.

As I have said before, I give Ted Summerfield (The Backward Approach to eBook Success) credit for the idea of creating an eCookbook as a way to promote my novel.

Ted also created Smashwords Forum for Smashwords authors. It's a great place to find out how to publish on Smashwords and some of the formatting and marketing issues SW authors have encountered and much more.

The Magic of Leftovers - Part 1

Leftover (LO) Spanish Rice, Leftover Chicken & Bananas

1 cup Spanish Rice
1/2 banana, sliced
1/4 cup canned mushrooms
1/2 cup leftover cooked chicken, diced

Add ingredients to skillet. Heat on medium until thoroughly hot. Stir together.

LO Mayo & Mustard Dressing
Adapted from:

Almost empty mayonnaise jar.
1 tbspn brown mustard
1/4 teaspn garlic powder
1 tbspn paramesan cheese
1 capful lime concentrate
2 teaspns Worcestershire sauce

Add water to almost empty mayonnaise jar.
Reclose with lid.
Swish water around in jar until mayo residue has been gathered.
Add rest of ingredients.
Reclose jar.
Shake vigorously.

Consistency will depend on amount of water added.

LO Breakfast Skillet Dish

2 tablespoons skillet dish (see RKFNC)
1 slice Spam
2 tablespoons chinese takeout
1 egg

In a large skillet, add the skillet dish, Spam, and Chinese takeout in separate spots in the skillet. Let these items cook on medium-high. The goal is to create a hot breakfast. Flip the Spam until it has browned, clear a space in the skillet and crack the egg into the space. Fry the egg until the white is solid, then flip it to fry on the other side to cook the yolk.

Slid the quasi-mixture onto a plate. Eat and enjoy.


I often make a batch of pasta and season it with basil and olive oil. I will eat this mixture as a serving as is or use it as a base for other dishes such as:

LO Pasta and beans

LO Pasta and vegetables

LO Cold Pasta Salad

1 serving LO cooked pasta
1/4 can of Spam, diced & cooked (I like to cook the Spam in the microwave for about a minute.)
1/2 red onion, quartered and sliced
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1/2 cup cheese, diced
1/4 avocado, sliced

These measurements are more of a guess.

Add items into a bowl. Add Mustard Vinaigrette.

Mustard Vinaigrette:
Created by whisking about 2 tablespoons of vinegar in an “empty” mustard jar.

LO Meatballs

Meatball sliders with coleslaw

Meatball sandwiches

Spaghetti and meatballs

Pasta and meatballs with white sauce

LO Salmon Salad or Tuna Salad

Salmon/Tuna salad sliders

Salmon/Tuna patties

Pasta and salmon/tuna salad

Salmon/Tuna salad sandwiches

DIY Homemade Facial

There are many articles on making homemade cosmetics.

While I did research some time ago, I can't refer you to any particular website for more information.

But, this was my take away -- DIY Facial:


Mask =  a dab Olive Oil
Astringent = about 1/4 cup Grape Juice
Wash = about 1/4 cup Milk
mild soap bar or liquid

Pour a small amount of grape juice and milk into separate small bowls.

  • Pour a dab of olive oil onto a fresh tissue.
  • Wipe olive oil on face with tissue. Spread oil over forehead, nose, cheeks, chin and out to the ears etc. Leave on face for 10 minutes.
  • Use a tissue to wipe off oil.
  • Dip fresh tissue into grape juice. Wipe face with grape juice.
  • Dip fresh tissue into milk. Wipe face with milk.
  • Wash face with mild soap and water.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What to Buy: A Toaster Oven, a Blender or a French Coffee Press?

Ever since I found the Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn in the early 1990s, I have enjoyed becoming a tightwad and becoming a tightwad has been enormously beneficial to me.

But, some decisions are hard for me.

Sometimes, when I try to save a few pesos on small purchases, I put myself into potentially dangerous situations, like wearing shoes with very worn soles on sidewalks with lots of cracks, holes, bumps, drops and old posts left sticking up. I have tripped at least three times and one was a bad fall. Now, I toss shoes that have worn soles and scour the city for shoe sales to replace the old ones.

Also, large purchases can put me in a quandary.

Because I am working on another edition of Recipes from the Kitchen of a Frugal Non-Cook, some recipes call for the use of a blender or oven. I have neither.

I work with a finicky two-burner electric stovetop and a microwave with one setting: high. So, I have been debating, do I get a blender or a toaster oven?

Getting a blender sounds like a luxury to me, whereas a toaster oven seems more practical.

I am leaning towards a toaster oven but do I get one with lots of features or a simple one? Do I get a convection oven? When I get into a quandary, I try to give myself time to make a decision.

But, what is also holding me back is not just spending the money but my new aversion to acquiring more "things."

After a lifetime of acquiring things, though most came from thrift stores & yard sales, it was a huge chore emptying my house, my room and my sister's storeroom of items, books in particular, that I could not part with. I don't want to do that again. All I could think of was how much time I spent sorting, packing, repacking, and disposing of items over and over, and over again.

Add in the fact, I like real coffee but have no coffee maker. Do I also buy a French Coffee press? I like the idea of getting the French Coffee Press because the ones I have seen range in size, price and style and it would be easy to use and easy to transport should I move.

But, then, there's the "hidden costs", like buying ground coffee and washing up. It sounds trivial but for a person who does not spend a lot of time in the kitchen, every task involved in cooking and cleaning is an effort.

Plus, caffeine now keeps me awake if I drink it after Noon. Instant coffee has worked fine for my morning cup of coffee. But, my guests would probably prefer real coffee. But, I don't really entertain that much. And the coffee press is not needed for my next RKFNC cookbook.

I also put off buying things because there are other things I "want", like taking a trip. I like to apply Amy's adage "Get Your Bang for the Buck" as part of my decision-making. I recently decided to cancel a trip because it would cost too much money for too little pleasure. So, now, I feel like I can afford a "little" trip and maybe a toaster oven.

But, after awhile I get frustrated and feel I must make a decision.

Luckily, I hate to shop and haven't been near a store in two weeks. But, the next time I go grocery shopping, those convection toaster ovens will be there.

On one hand, because I don't have a car, it's hard to shop for bargains but on the other hand, I am a good customer at the grocery store and it would be easy to return the toaster oven should it fail to work properly.

So many little decisions make up big decisions.

I even have to think about the value of the peso. Right now it's higher than it's been in four years, about 15 pesos for 1$US. Usually it runs about 12 pesos for 1$US. The savings comes from using less US$ to buy the same amount of pesos at an ATM.

But, I won't die without a toaster oven, a blender or a coffee press, so I have time to think about these purchases.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Peanut Butter, Cream & Grape Juice Popsicles

I found something to do with my failed Whipped Topping.

After successfully making Peanut Butter and Yogurt Popsicles, I got the idea to use that failed topping and make peanut butter & cream popsicles. Then, I got the idea to add grape juice.

These are approximate estimates.

2 Tblspns Creamy peanut butter
2 cups cream or milk
1/3 cup grape juice

In a bowl, mix the ingredients. Mash peanut butter with a spoon against the edge of the bowl to mix it with the milk and juice. Continue to stir until mixture is fairly smooth.

The mixture will be like a soup.

Pour mixture into popsicle tray. Insert popsicle sticks or handles, or pour mixture into several small freezer containers with lids.

Freeze for 6-8 hours.

While these popsicles taste good, in the future, I think I will reduce the amount of cream and increase the amount of grape juice. Also, I will probably experiment with other mixtures and flavors.

Friday, March 20, 2015

It's Been a Month of Leftovers and Only One New Recipe - Easy Canned Oyster Sliders with Coleslaw

While I tried several recipes, most need a redo. But, I really enjoyed using three cheeses: mozzarella, feta, and parmesan together in many ways.

Been living off of a variety of leftovers and making quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, wedge & chicken salads, potatoes, meatballs, sliders, chicken soup, rice, cabbage, breakfast & desserts, and experimenting with freezing items, and more. See list below.

  • Peanut butter and apple slices
  • Three-cheeses & mushrooms

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • Three cheeses & tomato
  • Three cheeses & mushrooms
  • Three cheeses & avocado slices

Wedge Salads
  • Topped three cheeses, grated carrot, sliced olives, avocado slices, tomato slices, onion slices
  • Topped with leftover shrimp in sauce
  • with a mustard vinaigrette
  • with cucumber-yogurt dressing

  • Baked potato
  • Potato cakes

  • with pasta

Meatballs came out good but I want to redo the recipe.

  • Canned oyster sliders with coleslaw (See recipe below.)
  • Meatball sliders

Slaw & Chicken Salad
  • Chicken salad with rice, lettuce, tomato, grated carrot, diced onion, olives, & cucumber-yogurt dressing. Used frozen diced chicken.
  • Coleslaw

Cucumber-yogurt dressing is good but needs work.

Chicken Soup

Made enough for 9 servings but recipe needs a redo.

Spanish Rice
  • Spanish rice and beans
  • Spanish rice, beans and fried egg

Fried Cabbage and Noodles
  • Plain
  • Topped with leftover carryout shrimp dish

Breakfast and Desserts
  • Apple Betty - failed but gave me an idea for making candy
  • Breakfast Banana Split: Banana, oatmeal, yogurt with nuts & honey
  • PB & yogurt popsicles
  • Whipped topping -- failed
PB & yogurt popsicles came out good but because I made multiple adjustments, I lost track of them, needs a redo.

  • Freezing cabbage
  • Freezing chicken

Tried defrosted chicken in chicken salad. It was good but maybe would be better heated up a bit.
Blanched and froze 1/4 cabbage and now the....

Freezer is full.

Easy Canned Oyster Sliders with Coleslaw Recipe
Make coleslaw (see recipe in RKFNC)
1 can cooked oysters
4 small rolls

In a skillet, add oysters from can and cook away liquid.
Add spoonfuls of coleslaw onto rolls.
Add oysters.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 27, 2015 Book Signing Cancelled

This event has been cancelled.

Future signings and readings will be posted soon.

Thanks for your interest.