Allowing Wisdom

“Information is different from knowledge, and it has nothing at all to do with wisdom.”  –T.S. Eliot

“To attain knowledge, add something everyday; to attain wisdom, remove something every day. ”  –Chinese proverb

“If you watch the TV news, you know less about the world than if you just drank gin straight from the bottle.”  –Garrison Keillor

In order to invite wisdom into my life, I am creating more silence.

When I am in the car by myself, I turn the radio off. At home, when the kids are gone, I leave a few minutes for just being .I try to have some time each day to listen. I’m listening not to the TV talking heads or even inspiring personalities, but for the vibration of the earth.

Tonight when a summer storm came through, I stopped preparing dinner and went out on the back porch to smell it and hear it.

There are so many human voices, so many opinions out there and I don’t always have to take sides or have a opinion of my own.

July 26 Grocery Shop

Refilled the pantry today, spent $117.85 for a total of grocery expenditures this month of $356.89. Eat out total so far this month is $17.53. So my pantry challenge definitely affected that one. Monthly food total well below my goal of $420/month.

Aldi and Food Fantasies

Organics include milk, eggs, chicken. Non-organic meat and dairy include pork tenderloin, shredded cheese, yogurt, butter and ice cream.

Shop N Save

Non-organic dairy: Kefir, cream and Gouda cheese.

Menus for the week:

Tuesday: Porkloin, leftover potatoes au gratin, steamed broccoli, orange sunshine

Wednesday: Just me, leftovers.

Thursday: Tacos made w/ pink lentils

Friday: Chicken and noodles, fruit

Saturday: Quiche and fruit

Sunday: Picnic dinner w/ grandma–individual cheeses, fruit, granola bars, carrot sticks, plus whatever grandma brings.

Day Eight: Pantry Challenge Finale

Summary: total food purchased during the eight days– one bag of Cheese-Its and one Diet Coke. I got a couple freebies, including lunch today provided by my employer. I’m sick of pasta and ready for some fresh fruit. I do like using up the odds and ends and not throwing food away. I’m shopping tomorrow, and we will see if there is a net dollar gain to the project.

Breakfast: coffee and creamer at home. I didn’t eat anything, as I was not hungry.

Lunch: a turkey sub sandwich with a fruit cup (plus my neighbor’s fruit cup.) I gave my brownie away to another co-worker.

Dinner: As planned–potatoes au gratin, leftover spaghetti, canned peaches and homemade blueberry pie. To drink: a second batch of  homemade lemonade which drew complements from the kids. (The spaghetti did not.)


And still leftover: half a pie, 6 apples, 2 tomatoes, some spaghetti, some canned peaches, 1/3 container of lemonade, carrot sticks, 16 oz of pineapple juice, potatoes au gratin and 1/2 a bottle of salad dressing.

The leftovers

Plus the pantry:

The pantry

Which still holds about 6# flour, about 4# sugar, all the spices minus a teaspoon or two from some of them, one potato, 20 oz of canola oil, ~ 10 oz of Coco Rice, the no-bake boxed dessert, a package of taco seasoning, 2 bullion cubes, baking soda, same amount of powdered sugar as before, Tapioca, vanilla, 1/3 of a stick of butter, same amount of tea as before, can of tomato soup, can of lentil soup, about 1 cup pink lentils, a box of macaroni and cheese, about 4 oz of white balsamic vinegar, 8 oz can of tomato sauce and 12 oz jar of fruit jam and about 1-2 tablespoons of yeast that may or may not have been omitted from the original inventory. I think with a gallon of milk, a half-dozen eggs and some fresh fruit, I could have gone for another week.


The whole thing has a lovely “stone soup” quality to it. I started out without much (I thought,) I ate pretty well for a whole week, and I still have plenty.

Day Seven Pantry Challenge

Yeah, I’m REALLY getting sick of my cooking now.

I drank coffee at home while getting ready for work. Packed breakfast and lunch

biscuit, currant jam, Southwest bean thing, carrot sticks & apple

(see above.) Thankfully, there was still fried chicken in the work fridge leftover from the potluck, so I took a piece plus some grape and fresh strawberries leftover too.

Dinner was some of the leftover spaghetti, but I added some of the salad dressing to jazz it up a bit. I ate it before I took a photo.

The kids come home tomorrow. I hope they like what I fixed ahead.

Day Six Pantry Challenge

Well…..the day didn’t exactly go like I planned, but it’s OK.

I got up at 5am and drank coffee here while completing some unfinished chores.

Wake uuuuuupp

Packed the usual breakfast and lunch for the road. Ooops, I deleted the photo….

anyway, it was a biscuit and currant jam, an apple, some carrot sticks, a premade Southwest Burrito and the last of the Black Bean salad I made. I ate breakfast as planned, but at work there were leftovers from a potluck that occurred yesterday. So for lunch I had a fried chicken breast, 7 layer salad and 1/2 a deviled egg. For dinner, I ate what I had fixed for lunch. Lunch was a very happy circumstance though….I am growing tired of my own cooking.

Day Five Pantry Challenge

OK…I feel I am fading a bit. I was saving some of the easier meals for the weekend, when I knew I would be busy, but today ended up being a 12 hour work day, so I wish I didn’t have to cook dinner, so I didn’t put as much effort into it (no garlic) and it was really bland. Though, on the up side, after 12 hours at work, I didn’t really care. I just wanted to get filled up.

Breakfast & Lunch

Breakfast: cantaloupe, biscuit and current jam, coffee (from work, not pictured)

Lunch: Southwest bean salad, apple, carrot sticks

Dinner: Spaghetti and marina sauce

Dinner at 7:22pm

Marina sauce

Sauce consists of: 8 oz canned tomato sauce, 1/2 cup pink lentils cooked in 1 cup water for 15 minutes, 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes drained, 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, basil, rosemary.

This, mixed with the remainder of the spaghetti, cooked was supper.


Though, by the time I got it all onto the plate (7:53pm) I was so tired, that I almost wasn’t hungry anymore. I put the extra in the fridge, expecting that ravenous hunger to return at a future time.

Day Four Pantry Challenge


Yogurt, coffee, cantaloupe

This is a day off paid employment, so it is a day spent doing laundry, cooking prep for later in the week and yearly chores like washing the curtains in the basement and draining the hot water heater of sludge. But the kids are gone, so at least one nap occurred today as well. (insert big smiley face)

I decided to make drop biscuits from my mom’s recipe, but I didn’t have any baking powder. A quick Wikipedia search gave be both the chemical reasons for and possible substitutions. (Have I ever mentioned here how much I value having internet access vs. a TV?….not that you can’t have both) Anyhoo…

biscuit ingredients

The recipe calls for 1 and 1/3 cups milk [2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda,  1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup oil or shortening, 1 and 1/3 cups milk] but I am low on milk, and want to reserve  1/3 cup for the boxed mac ‘n cheese I will be making on Monday, so I took the milk I had

milk available

and thinned it with water.

correct volume of liquid for the recipe

The other substitution was 2 teaspoon baking soda plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice instead of the 2 teaspoons baking powder. Here are the drop biscuits on the cookie sheet:

raw dough globs

And cooked:

not my mom's biscuits, but good enough

Then I decided to work on Monday’s evening meal. I will be working that day, probably a long day, the kids will be home, so I am preparing in advance: Potatoes Au Gratin.

2 Tbsp oil, 3 Tbsp flour, pepper, potatoes, shredded cheese, bullion cube

I used all the milk on the biscuits, so am using vegetable bullion here. Usually, I would use milk in the cheese sauce, it gives the finished product a nicer color.

potatoes cooked till tender, not soft

oil and flour cooking

vegetable bullion and pepper, added shredded cheese

potatoes in casserole dish

potatoes w/ cheese sauce

Time for lunch:

OJ, tomato soup, apple, 2 biscuits w/ peanut butter and currant jelly

More food prep:

carrots, cleaned and cut

And also for Monday supper: Blueberry pie. First the crust.

crust ingredients: 1 1/4 cup flour, 8 Tbsp butter, 1/3 cup cold water

pie crust

finished product:

homemade crust and 2 cans pie filling

Whew! Time for dinner:

rest of Shiraz, tilapia and last package of froz. vegetables

Day Three

First, a confession. Last night about 9pm, I was really hungry and I ate the rest of the potato soup. I may regret that later in the week. Then today, between breakfast and lunch, when my meeting let out, I was really hungry. I bought a bag of Cheese-Its from the snack machine. I don’t even think Cheese-Its are food. Like Twinkies, if single-celled organisms don’t recognize it as food, it’s probably not. But I ate them, and staved off hunger pangs till I could get to my lunch out in the car. Sooooo….

At home:

coffee and coconut creamer


I needed to make the lunch salad this AM, so I started at 6:15am with my version of a Southwest Black bean Salad.

Bean salad ingredients 6:15am

black beans, rinsed and drained

corn, drained and added

leftover green beans, chopped and added

I apologize that the green beans did not make it into the original inventory. They were leftover from Sunday dinner. I took the inventory prior to dinner and did not know that they would be leftover. I swear, I do not have a secret stash of food that I am pulling out as is convenient for me.

tomatoes chopped, vinaigrette ready to be added

yogurt, cantaloupe, apple, bean salad and lemonade

This is the last of the lemonade I made the other day. I tastes good, but I am not used to drinking sugary drinks and it leaves a film on my teeth. Blech.


Dinner at 4:29pm

Once again, I come home from work ravenous. I guess, when I buy junk-crap at work it is more calories than cooking from home. Could all the advice columnists be right? Anyway, my intent here is to cook a Thai-type dish with spaghetti noodles, garlic, lemon juice (lime would be better, but I’m working with what I have), peanut butter and chili powder.

chopped garlic, peanut butter and lemon juice microwaved 1 minute

spaghetti boiling 4:37pm

canola oil and garlic sauteing

Dinner at 4:48pm

The side is a fresh tomato, sliced and doused w/ red pepper vinaigrette.

(comment: the flavor of the noodle dish was great, but it would take some tweaking texture-wise before I would serve it to company–too gummy. I did make extra, in case the insatible hunger returns……)


Day Two

Decided it was too darned hot for brewed coffee and made it the night before and refrigerated it, and added the coconut creamer. I put it in my daughter’s water bottle instead of lemonade.

Coffee for the road

Then breakfast & lunch includes celery with peanut butter, cantaloupe cubes, apple, yogurt, and more of the beet/vinaigrette/egg salad.

Breakfast & lunch

Yesterday, I had a patient offer me a piece of party cake late afternoon.. No such luck today, and I was pretty hungry when I got home at 4:45pm (an amazingly early time for me…) So dinner was the second order of business after I fed the cats.

Dinner at 4:58pm

1 tablespoon canola oil and two cloves garlic

Add in 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 thawed tilapia fillets

Added in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tilapia fillets.

Then steam the vegetables in the microwave per package instructions, sprinkle some chili powder on the fish and presto:

Dinner at 5;10pm (12 minutes start to finish)

Day One

Breakfast: Coffee w/ coconut  creamer, at home.

And then packed to work–yogurt and watermelon cubes. Also packed in lunch: sliced beets w/ white balsamic vinaigrette and sliced hard-boiled eggs, an apple, celery with peanut butter, and home-made lemonade.

Home-made lemonade

(Home made lemonade: 4 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup lemon juice. Stir. This is the Poor Man’s Lemon Shake-Up. Illinois State Fair goers know what I am talking about.)

Lemonade poured into my daughter’s water bottle–(what?? She is gone for the week, and not using it….)


watermelon, beets&egg w/ balsamic vinegar, apple, celery&peanut butter

Lunch packed and ready to go:

Lunch packed

Dinner: Potato soup (took 23 minutes from  first photo to finish)

Potato Soup 7:22pm

potatoes peeled and on the stove, garlic chopped, celery chopped and frozen onions and butter in the skillet (7:34pm)

boiling potatoes

celery and garlic

celery and garlic: chopped--7:34pm

bullion in microwave–1 minute

vegetable bullion in microwave-- 1 minute

butter, onion, garlic, celery

Bullion,1/2 of potatoes, and celery in blender

mash remaining potatoes w/ remaining celery & garlic

Soup! 23 minutes start to finish