Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frugal in the Kitchen & Books

Susan’s stroll down memory lane last week, revisiting Halloweens of her youth, rekindled a memory I have of reading science fiction, fantasy and horror stories as a boy living in a mobile home in the small community of Shiloh, located a few miles east of Mayodan. My love of reading and writing can be traced back to the summer of ‘69. Momma, ever the thrifty one, purchased a large box of books at a yard sale one weekend. She paid five dollars for the entire lot and I, due to her thoughtfulness, fell in love with reading. While I enjoyed and read every book in that box, I favored science fiction over fantasy and horror, probably because the genre made me think of things that could be possible given time and technological achievements.

While man left his mark on the moon during that summer, I was in no way confined to that mobile home in Shiloh. Those books carried me to mountain tops and ocean depths, beyond the confines of gravity to moons and planets, bridging vast distances between stars, worlds microscopic and macroscopic, through barriers of time and space. Asimov, Bova, Bradbury, Clarke, Heinlein, Herbert, Pohl, were but a few of my captains, who ferried me along with the characters in their books.

Those books piqued my interest in model rocketry. I worked odd jobs that summer, earning money to purchase a model rocket kit complete with a launch pad, rocket, and several small cylinder shaped solid fuel rocket engines. A few months later, one of my teachers at school asked me to talk to my classmates about rocketry. At recess, I was permitted to launch one of my rockets from a designated “safe spot” on the football field. My classmates counted “10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0 liftoff!” and I pressed the ignition button. My rocket streaked skyward, leaving a trail of white smoke. A few seconds later we heard a distant pop and, soon after, my rocket drifted down via a plastic parachute several yards from where it began its brief journey.

Not bad mileage (for the imagination) for a five dollar box of books. In fact, I think I’m still ferrying along, fueled by my love of reading that began that summer.

Some of the recipes I post here are created while playing in the kitchen. I think I got my money's worth last weekend when I purchased four large chicken breast (2.88 lbs) for $5.75. After boiling the breast to make chicken salad, it suddenly occurred to me that I should do something with the left over broth. Here’s what I did:

Ad-libbed Black Bean Chicken Soup

I boiled the chicken, removed the breast, left the broth/water in the pot. I then added one shredded chicken breast, two cans (drained) of black beans, a jar of salsa, corn (drained), 16 ounces of veggie juice, sauteed onions, half cup brown rice, two teaspoons chili powder, two teaspoons cumin, two teaspoon onion powder, two teaspoons garlic powder, teaspoon sea salt, teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and another can of chicken broth and two cups water.

I brought the soup up to a boil then cut it down to medium low and let it simmer for two hours, adding additional water as needed.

With the remaining three breast, I made chicken salad--diced the chicken breast, tossed the chicken into a bowl, added pecans, mayonnaise, red grapes (sliced), diced celery, salt and pepper, stirred everything thoroughly then put the chicken salad in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

My efforts made three quarts of the black bean chicken soup and one quart and one pint of chicken salad. I gifted my neighbor a quart of soup and a pint of the chicken salad.

There’s no fun in being frugal if you don’t share. :)

And finally, a poem for you to pause and consider. Have a great week!


Not so much
the fiery streak
that split the
autumn night
or the impact it made
miles away
as we watched
with awed delight
but the distance
the distance
only to sizzle and fizzle
in the deep

Magnapoets - Issue 5, January 2010


  1. :-) Nothing better than a spicy soup on a crisp Autumn day. May have to try this one, cousin!

    1. Methinks you and Ray will enjoy the soup, Terri. It's going to be a "keeper" around here. :)

  2. Sounds like enough chow to get through this Hurricane/Nor'easter Sandy! Hi, guys! Batten down the looks like we're on the "dangerous" side of this storm...but after what I've been through in the last few's just the cleaning up exercise. You are all in my prayers...pray for me as I pray for you. Love to all. GOD Bless & Keep You, Under His Wings, Close to His Heart, Love+Peace, Merrill

    1. And you are in our prayers too, Merrill. Yes, batten down the hatches and let us know how you're doing.

      We'll worry until we hear from you.

      Love you!

  3. Wonderful piece. The prose, poem and recipe. Love that you grew from that "box of books" to this here now. Your gratitude is warming. Andrea

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Andrea.

      And thank you for visiting The Frugal Poet. Please drop by again some time. :)