Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sweet stuff for about 60 cents

Frugality is more than a hobby these days. In “Beyond Couponing” Carol Scudere shares how to save up to 60 percent on groceries. I always like to get a glimpse of how the pantries of folks who do this are set up and this book offers a peek. If you’re willing to saw a roll of paper towels in half to make your own baby wipes and scan your (Port Arthur News) newspaper for coupons, then you, too, can save big. She’s got a plan, lists, menus and recipes. My mother makes a version of this recipe below and it’s mighty tasty:

Maple Flavored Syrup

Yields about 12 2-ounce servings; Approximate cost to make: 60 cents

2 cups sugar

½ cup water

½ cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon maple extract

1 teaspoon butter flavoring

Bring water, sugar and corn syrup to a slow boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat before it comes to a rolling boil in order to keep crystals from forming. Add flavorings as it is cooking. Store in refrigerator. Great over pancakes and corn fritters.

Ready for Asian new year

My daughter got her annual Christmas request of a run from Port Arthur’s Asian markets. Now our pantry is stocked full of spring roll wrappers, Peking vegetarian roast duck (braised gluten), crab paste, shredded squid and some kind of unusual items, too. Spicy blends over rice are low-cal New Year’s resolution options.

Christmas gumbo

Timing, décor, placement and just about everything I hold traditional to Christmas left me discombobulated this season. Thank goodness my mother prepared the necessity, a holiday gumbo. This year’s had shrimp and crab and we were mighty grateful for it.

We amused ourselves with wondering how many displaced Texans and Cajuns were having Christmas gumbo in the other states across America. We’d love to see a map connecting the dots of all the steaming pots.


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