Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Pies and pies

Back before the holidays I asked the manager guy at the senior commodity place what kind of pie he’d like to have as a Christmas present.   He said he wanted a bean pie.  Seriously?  Yes, I made him a bean pie.  Now if you can get past the “ewww” factor of beans and pie in one dish you’ll find that it’s quite good.  Bean pie tastes more like custard than beans.  He was surprised to find that *I* knew how to make bean pie.

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No big secret really.  I love reading really old books.  I learn alot from the old history kind of books.  So sometimes I hang out in Project Gutenberg reading copies of old books some of which are cookbooks.   There are cookbooks from the eighteenth century (1700) with recipes for bean pies.  Back in the eighteenth century beans were called field peas so those recipes are called pea pies.  Think black eye peas and chick peas but also other types of dry beans.  Field peas are different than garden peas which are green.  Anyway, I made that guy a bean pie.  His family loved the pie so he requested three more.  I made three more.  And three more after that.

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A family friend had asked for a carrot pie.  So I made a carrot pie.  That person promptly asked for another carrot pie.  I made another but also made a carrot pie just for myself and put the instructions into a blog post too. Then there were requests for chocolate pecan pie and buttermilk pie.  Yup, I was extra busy over the holidays making pies and more pies.  Loaves of bread too because people asked for homemade bread.

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I’m over it already.  The holidays are over.  I’m not taking any more pie requests.  I told everyone it’s time to make your own pies so I can get back to my quilting schedule.  Even if I wanted to have a pie for myself I can’t possible make one because I’m out of all ingredients until after this month’s shopping day.   No flour to make bread either.  I’m glad I had an extra loaf in the freezer.

People are still asking for more pies and bread.  When I offer the recipe so they can make their own no one has taken it.  Sorry but if you (the recipients) can’t take charge of your own food don’t expect me to do that for you.  K?  My SIL says all the time that she hates to cook and only does what will keep her and my brother alive.  Well heck, I don’t really *like* the chore of cooking and then clean up either.  But, I figure if I *must* cook to live then I should be really good at what I do cook. If something is worth doing, its worth doing really well.  So, if I bake a pie I’m gonna make it the best pie I am able.  If I must bake loaves of bread so I can eat healthier then I’m going to keep practicing until I get it perfect.  Understand?  An occasional gift is one thing.  People who take advantage is another.  People will never do for themselves as long as there are people to do it for them.  It isn’t going to me because quilting is my thing and I must get back to doing that everyday.

 

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52 comments on “Pies and pies

  1. Randal Oulton
    January 24, 2017

    Just found this improvised pie video, and thought you might get a laff out of it. It’s pie themed, and really takes the mick out of those increasingly annoying Tasty videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97nlPorVEJ4

    • Anita
      January 24, 2017

      Ha, ha, ha, that was so funny. Thanks Randal.

  2. Emma
    January 21, 2017

    There is something sooooo satisfying about making a delicious meal or baking a great dessert. And it’s the kind of thing where you just get better with practice. I’m finally at the point now where I don’t really crave a meal out because I know I can do just as well if not better at a fraction of the price. I understand my mother better now. Love your blog, Anita.

    • Anita
      January 22, 2017

      Thank you Emma. That’s exactly how I felt as I got better at my cooking skills and started saving money.

  3. Randal Oulton
    January 15, 2017

    If you ever home can chickpeas, have you heard about saving the water off them when you open the jar (freeze it, I guess, until needed), and then whipping it to use as an egg white sub? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_0-qMkfCYs

    I have not tried this yet, it’s on the list try the next time I open a jar of home canned chickpeas.

    • Anita
      January 17, 2017

      Hey, thanks Randal, I’d never seen that done before. I want to try it too. I wonder if it will work with other types of beans? I wonder why there wasn’t mention of sweetening it for meringue?

  4. Randal Oulton
    January 15, 2017

    The comments are closed on the mix and match cake page now so I’ll ask here I guess, what if you are out of any household fat (butter, shortening or otherwise) and don’t want to go out in the freezing rain, what do you substitute for those 4 tablespoons of fat in the recipe?

    • Anita
      January 17, 2017

      Sorry about the closed comments. I use applesauce when I’m out of oil or just don’t want to use it in my cake recipes. I’ve also used mayonnaise a few times with fair results as its mostly oil anyway.

      • Randal Oulton
        January 18, 2017

        Two very good sub ideas, thanks Anita! ( I think there even used to be some kind of tinned tomato soup and mayo cake recipe going around, I’d forgotten that…..)

  5. Nini
    January 10, 2017

    Requests should also come with offers of compensation. Gifts of goodies are awesome and more appreciated in my book than an expensive gift. However…if I were to make special requests I would expect to pay for it. Not all of us were made equally when it comes to culinary skill. 😉 Hence why I pay.

    • Anita
      January 11, 2017

      Yes, they did offer but I refused. I preferred to keep them as gifts without obligation.

  6. T
    January 10, 2017

    I think it’s a compliment for people to ask for your cooking, and as you say, it’s an effect of the food desert when people don’t have access to a full range of foods there are elsewhere.

    I understand you not wanting to get too involved though, you have your own work and plans for your store cupboard.

    I sometimes just make a plain custard with no pastry, it’s just eggs, milk, sugar and ground nutmeg, and I rub butter over the bowl first for extra flavor and non-stick. If I have honey I use that instead of sugar to sweeten.

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      That’s a good idea too. I may do that tomorrow.

      • T
        January 18, 2017

        Did you try it?

        Anita, my father died today, I don’t know why I wanted to share that but so many of these food pages relate to my childhood and family events.

        The favorite food he cooked for me was a curry with raisins or sultanas in it. It was from his army days.

        • Anita
          January 18, 2017

          Oh! I am so very sorry to hear that. Please accept my condolences. Thank you for telling me and take care of yourself.

        • Anita
          January 18, 2017

          I forgot to tell you that yes, I did try the custard recipe without crust. It was great! I used honey in it too.

        • mem37814
          January 18, 2017

          so sorry for your loss…

        • Randal Oulton
          January 18, 2017

          I’m sorry to hear about your loss.

          • T
            January 18, 2017

            Thank you all.

            I went out to check the mail last evening and there was my belated Christmas card from him, he had written ‘all love’. Made me cry but they were happy tears.

            Glad you enjoyed the crustless custard Anita, it’s one of my favorites.

  7. Eileen
    January 10, 2017

    Thank you for the link to The Guttenberg Project and for the idea of a bean pie! I’d never heard of a pie made with beans before but a quick google search and I’ve got a recipe I’m going to try. Really enjoy reading your blog-thank you for all that you share with us.

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      Eileen, you can use the recipe for carrot pie I posted as the recipe for bean pie too. Just swap the can of carrots for a can of beans. Drain them but don’t rinse them.

  8. Kathleen
    January 9, 2017

    Anita,
    I have been there and done that before….my friend used to call me a door matt….
    She also taught me that little two letter word that has changed my life…
    “NO”…respectfully but no.. and give them the recipe like I do now…anytime I take a new sweet to a potluck or away I print out about 2 or 3 copies of the recipe… Christmas present was one thing but not supplying everybody with free pies.
    I just can’t believe that they didn’t even to give you any ingredients..Wow!
    I know it feels good to have people enjoy your baking and cooking as long as they don’t run you into the poorer house….can’t feed the world…Tough Love
    Kathleen

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      Yes, I’m a giving person but I only go so far before putting on the breaks. Tos ask for seconds is a compliment. To ask for third and fourth is dependance. You are right, I can’t feed the world.

  9. Cate Dennis
    January 9, 2017

    So many lazy people nowadays. I try to help my sister all the time. She has a lower income and two teens to feed and clothe. When I offer advice such as budgeting, she doesn’t want to hear about it. She says she tried it ONCE and it didn’t work. When I told her about food stamps, it took her FOREVER to sign up for them. Then, she got a $38 a month raise and she was dropped for making too much money. Life is always gonna hand you dirt, courtesy of Satan. Trust in God, don’t waste your money on unnecessary purchases/wants, work hard to become debt-free and enjoy the life God gave you. It’s like that old saying from years ago – “Life is God’s gift to you. What you do with it, is your gift to God.” Good post. Thanks for all the info you give.

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      Yes, tough love is not always welcomed but sometimes we have to use it. We cannot change people who refuse to be changed. Its hard to blame hungry people for asking for more food but sometimes No is necessary.

      • mem37814
        January 10, 2017

        I think after the first pie as a gift it would be ok to quote a price for all other pies. That is only fair. Then you can see how many scatter…lol

        • Anita
          January 10, 2017

          Some would be willing to pay to replace the ingredients or even bring them but I find it easier to say no when the pies are gifts.

  10. Suzanne
    January 9, 2017

    Anita I totally agree with your posting. A gift of a homemade pie or a loaf of homemade bread is wonderful but when the recipient(s) asks for more and then more after that with no compensation for your time and materials….I don’t think so. You and your pantry should not have to suffer for someone else’s greed and/or laziness holidays notwithstanding.

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      The holidays are the time for giving. The gift of food is always welcome in a food desert and is the easiest on my budget. Its often a delicate balance between a gift and the person becoming dependent.

  11. Jean Bender Bontrager
    January 9, 2017

    I agree, but I assumed you were charging for them, and you should have been. Who are these people who ask you to make something for them without offering to pay. !!!

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      They are people with very little income living in a food desert. Its a delicate balance between being helpful and being used when living in a food desert. I am poor and doing my best to show other poor folks that lace of money should not mean lack of hope.

  12. Sandy
    January 9, 2017

    Will you be posting the bean pie recipe?

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      The recipe for the bean pie is exactly the same as the carrot pie but instead of a can of carrots you use a can of beans. White beans seem to work the best but I have used pinto and kidney beans with good results. I drain the beans but do not rinse them. Enjoy your pie making. It can become addicting.

  13. Gaby
    January 9, 2017

    Wait…Did these people making multiple pie requests PAY you?! I certainly hope so!!! It’s one thing to do it once as a gift (especially over the holidays) but when they come back and keep asking for more, I would point out that ingredients aren’t free! At least charge a few bucks. I have my own tendency to allow others to take advantage of me, but I’ll stew over it afterwards, so if you can’t already tell, this is a touchy subject for me:p

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      Yes, they did offer to pay if I make more pies but I said no. I am a quilter not a bakery. I do not want to get into the business of making pies. As long as they are gifts I have no obligation to make pies if I don’t want to make pies.

  14. boblosan
    January 9, 2017

    I admire your kindness. Perhaps you can offer to make them if they pay you for them? That might allow you to make a few more for yourself, too. I do understand that people will keep taking if they can. Asking for money for the pies and breads will make them understand that they can’t just take advantage of your kindness.

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      Yes, asking for money would change things but I am a quilter not a bakery. I prefer to keep them as gifts with no responsibility to make more. Its easier to say no.

  15. mem37814m
    January 9, 2017

    You are so right.None of my friends know how to use a computer or want to learn.They call me to look up a phone number,for side effects of a new medicine etc..then they continue w/ their chores while I search for them. And as u say I am over it.” My time is valuable to me.

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      Yes, I know how that is. People will ask repeatedly as long as we keep saying yes to the requests. I would be tempted to put the computer in another room and lie that it was not working anymore. I had to do that at my old house. Its hard to deny you have something when its if full view all the time.

  16. Pat
    January 9, 2017

    I wrote down the carrot pie recipe. Could you post the bean one as well?

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      Pat, the recipe for bean pie is exactly the same as the carrot pie but you change the can of carrots for a can of beans. Drain the beans but do not rinse them. Let me know if you like it.

  17. Margie in Toronto
    January 9, 2017

    Thank you so much for these recipes – and the link to the Gutenberg site! I am very interested in historical recipes. There are a couple of really good British programs and documentaries on YouTube if you have access. Search for Clarissa Dickson Wright in particular and Lucy Worsley.

    I think you did very well by people and baking things as a gift at Christmas or as a Thank you is one thing but just because they can’t be bothered is another! I know there are rules around “commercial baking” but if people love your cooking so much couldn’t you ask them to contribute towards the ingredients and have them buy you a gift card or two (for the grocery store or store of your choice) with a bit more added on for your time? You can’t feed all these folks out of your small funds – that’s a bit of a cheek!

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      I prefer to keep them to gifts so I can say easily no to making more. The one person who asked for so many pies has several kids and little money. Everyone knows now that the gifts are done until next year. I plan to get back to quilting again which will not leave much time for baking extra pies or anything else. I remember Clarissa being on PBS before she passed away. I watched her shows. Never heard of Lucy though. I’ll check her out.

  18. kathi
    January 9, 2017

    EVERY ONE of those pies sounds DELISH. especially the carrot one. and baking bread. i NEED to get into doing that. ah, “time factor”. and “yeast and I” just don’t get along very well. giggle. BUT i will enjoy thinking of them with you.

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      Kathi, if you get a frozen pie shell from the store it takes no more than 5 minutes to put the pie ingredients together in the blender and then into the oven. The bread is a bit different. That’s why I like the recipe so well. Its super quick.

  19. Nancy Lotzer
    January 9, 2017

    Sounds like you could have a little pie baking business. If some asks for a pie charge them. If they want a good home baked pie then they should pay enough for the ingredients and your time and energy usage. Just my opinion.

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      Nancy I probably could but I really don’t want into get into cooking for a living. I’m a quilt maker.

  20. Jeanie
    January 9, 2017

    My grandson has to eat gluten free foods. I make him brownies using black beans and blonde brownies using chickpeas. They are good and if you didn’t know it was beans you would never guess. I’ve never had carrot pie but it bet it’s similar to squash pie….doctor it up to taste like pumpkin.

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      Ooo, those are good ideas. I’ve used beans in cakes and cookies with good results. Yes, the bean pie can be made with squash instead.

  21. Linda S
    January 9, 2017

    My granddaughter just graduated high school early so she can go on to culinary school – gonna be a chef! So she asked me to make fudge to take to her graduation party. Haha She didn’t see the irony.

    • Anita
      January 10, 2017

      Hee, hee, but Grandma does the fudge so well. I hope she asked for the recipe too.

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