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March 2009

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jtaylor2 in hard_times_cook

Brief Intro

Hi! I recently found this community through a search for "depression cooking". (Coincidentally, I realized that tahinaz is also in another community I *just* joined frugalliving.) I have been chatting with my fellow grad students that are suffering even more with the diminishing job opportunities, and I have come to appreciate the wisdom of my grandmother who lived through the Great Depression. I had a conversation over a cheap cup of coffee with a friend that we are pressured in the United States to live beyond our means by using credit card debt and other types of "fake money". Me, I would rather be conservative and 'safe' with my money. But, at the same time, I prioritize healthy food and avoiding processed foods. I don't always succeed, but I try my best to incorporate new recipes into my repertoire. Enough about me - it's great to be here!

Muesli - Makes about 3 cups

2 cups rolled/old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup dried fruit
1/2 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients. Leave whole or grind in food processor. Store in airtight container in the fridge. Serve with milk, juice, or applesauce and let stand for several minutes.

This recipe is pretty dynamic- you can use just about anything! My current preference is to have 1 cup cereal (apricots, Craisins, and pecans), 1/2 cup applesauce, and then a 1/2 cup serving of yogurt on top. Honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg are fabulous with it too! I've also just dumped milk on it and eaten it like a normal cereal, without letting it soak in.

I buy my oats in bulk and watch for sales. (Sometimes the organic type can be cheaper than the conventional!) I just use whatever dried fruit and nuts that I have on hand. I typically buy apricots, Craisins, and various raw nuts at Costco. (Find a friend that has a membership, if you don't.) Otherwise, the bulk aisle is great, too. More variety and you're not eating one type of food for months.

Also, I have been exploring more 'traditional' puddings as a way to use up milk and eggs. (I find it hard to go through an entire gallon of milk and so I end up with several cups left when it's not quite turned... and I never seem to go through a dozen eggs!) I have had great success with this one- Creamy Rice Pudding I actually found that it was more delicious without the raisins. It was much creamier and less overpowered by the 'fruitiness' of the raisins. (Oh, and my partner didn't like the plumped raisins) It's just another great way to use up leftover rice aside from frying it up!

My next suggestion, along the same lines, is small pearl tapioca. Not the quick-cooking flaky kind. I recently tried the small pearl, which requires soaking overnight before cooking for 15-20 minutes, and it was amazing. I understand that some people don't like the texture or the "custard" flavor, but I think it's delicious in spite of its simplicity.

I have also started making my own graham cracker pie crusts (Graham Cracker Crust and making pudding pies with normal Jell-O pudding. It's a welcome treat for me, since I'm too busy with school to actually bake anything.