Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Flexibility - It is Important in Life

 Flexibility is important in all aspects of life!  If you have ever been married or in a relationship - you know how important it is.  Give and take and not always what one thought reality would be.  In work places - flexibility is a must.  In friendships we have to be flexible.  It is important in life in general.  NOTHING ever goes as we expect and we just have to make new plans, follow new routes and do what we can do.

It is very important in our pantries as well.   If you can be flexible you will be blessed.  Times get tough, weather gets bad, plans change - learn to use what you have in new ways.  It saves money, time and supplies and you will never go hungry! 
Let's get flexible!!!!!!

A few ideas:
No cream cheese?  Cream some cottage cheese and blend with a little butter
No Ricotta cheese - use cottage cheese
Use 2 Tbsp. of flour for every one on cornstarch needed for sauces
Brown sugar = 1 C sugar plus 2 Tbsp. molasses
Buttermilk = 1 cup plain yogurt OR a Tbsp. of vinegar added to enough milk to make a cup - let it set for 5 minutes
1 cup sour = 1 cup plain yogurt

1 pkg. of dry yeast = 1 Tbsp. bulk yeast
1 Tbsp. lemon juice = 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 chopped onion = 1 Tbsp. instant minced onion

1 C tomato sauce = 1/2 C tomato paste + 1/2  C water
1 tsp. dried herbs  = 1 Tbsp. fresh herbs

Bacon = ham pieces, smoke flavor
Butter, margarine, shortening in baking = applesauce
Heavy cream in sauces or soups  evaporated milk  (remember you can buy cream that is shelf stable)

There are so many things in the pantry that takes the place of something else.  It just takes a bit of thought and imagination.
We all know that rice, potatoes and past can be switched about in meals.  Don't have one - use another.  Brown rice or long grain rice instead of white rice.
Fresh potatoes, frozen potatoes, dried or flaked potatoes - options!!!!!!!!!!

No meat and needing to add flavor to soup, casseroles or meals - just get those seasonings and bouillons out.
Any type of bouillon, spices and herbs, smoke, cheese, dehydrated veggies of any sort, tomato products (any kind - think salsa, marinara, spicy tomatoes), broth, stock..... the  list goes on and on.  There is no reason to serve a bland meal - there are tons of options for flavor and can give a meal a robust taste.

No frig milk - well there are options.  Dry milk, shelf stable milk, evaporated milk,  You can even use almond or nut milks or coconut milk - depending on what you are making.   You can even water down cream if you have it.

Cheese - I love cheese and use a lot of it.  It is a great flavor booster in foods.  I always keep powdered cheese - lots of it.  It works well in soups and casseroles and even added to mac.  There are options like Velveeta (you can make your own as well), and you can get individual packets of creamy Velveeta for single use.  These are shelf stable and I really like keeping a few of those on hand. (I get at Dollar Tree).  Think cheesy soups and there is jarred/canned nacho cheeses which are shelf stable.
I like having shelf stable cheese options.

It isn't just food - many times we get colds, flu, allergies or just sniffles.  I keep a good OTC medicinal pantry - but I truly like natural choices as well.  There are so many and people just don't think about it.

There are many other herbs and everyday products that help us.  We need to know our options.  I am a huge advocate of Vitamin C, D and Zink as well.  If I feel a cold or congestion coming on - I make a hot toddy of sorts.  Hot tea, lemon juice, honey and optional a shot of whiskey or bourbon.  It kicks it every time.  Hot tea and honey is a good 'for what ails you' plan!  My Daddy ate raw garlic every day and I never remember him having a cold.

                                                          This stuff works!  

I also believe in eating fruits.  I am a huge apple and orange eater - whatever is seasonal.  I do believe in the old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away".  It seems to work well for me.
Do some RESEARCH on herbs and natural healing!  You will be glad you did.

Cleaning is another place to be flexible.  So many options instead of chemicals.  Use natural and what you have.  So many things are inter-changeable.

Baking soda in place of cleanser.  Peroxide instead of bleach and it cleans.  Vinegar instead of fabric softener and it works on windows/mirrors and general cleaning.  Alcohol for cleaning general surfaces.  Dish soap in a pinch for shampoo or even laundry.  Bar soap can be grated and turned into laundry soap or liquid soap.  It just takes a little creativity.

Paper goods - if you run out of TP have wet wipes on hand.  You can clean with a wash cloth and water/soap, you can make your own washable wipes, you can get a bidet attachment.
Paper towels - use rags instead.  Newspaper can be used to clean up wet spills or to wash windows.  Cut old worn clothing into rags.

We all know different ways to save and stretch that budget and what we have.  

We truly live in a time of abundance - no doubt about it.  I know - I hear all those stories about shelves at stores containing less and less - but BE FLEXIBLE.  If you can't find what you WANT - get something different.  This really is a time of abundance, just not maybe what you want.
Be grateful you can walk into a store.  Be grateful that you have so many to choose from.  Be grateful you have a pantry and freezer well stocked.  Be grateful you have options.

Remember back to the days of the big depression - there were no choices to speak of.  If you didn't grow it, make it - you didn't have it.  Options were very limited (we haven't seen anything like that yet).  During those dark days there were people not able to find ANY work - today you can find jobs on every corner - you just have to be willing to be flexible!  They didn't have food stamps or unemployment then.  They didn't have food pantries to speak of.  There were 'soup lines' - and people were grateful for watered down whatever!!!  
There were the dust bowl days - no crops - animals died.  People died.

Folks remember how GOOD you have it.  Quite complaining and learn to be FLEXIBLE. 
Life goes on.  Wants and needs are two different things.  You can eat and eat well on a little money and just by 'playing' with your food.
Look at what you have with new eyes and learn to be flexible!!!!!

Blessings to all.


  1. I absolutely love when you show how things can be substituted for something you don't have. It seems there is always one recipe that I want to make and I am always missing at least one ingredient. Thank you for sharing.

    1. You are very welcome. I learned to improvise with my Mom. She was always doing well with whatever we had.
      We had little money - but never did without!

  2. My maternal grandmother had a HUGE influence in who I became as a mother. She lived through the Great Depression, worked in a secretarial pool at a manufacturing plant, and never, ever wasted. Her lessons saw me through the lean times in my own life. Being flexible and creative is essential during leans times... and really all the time.

    "Be grateful you can walk into a store. Be grateful that you have so many to choose from. Be grateful you have a pantry and freezer well stocked. Be grateful you have options."

    Amen! I'm grateful I can take a shower with clean, hot water. To be able to sleep in a comfortable bed with clean bedding. There are so many simple, basic things we take for granted each and every day. --Elise

    1. AMEN to that! We take so much for granted and we seem like such a SPOILED society. People expect everything now and many have no idea how to do without.
      I am grateful for every tiny thing in my life.
      We have so much.

      I love that there are many of us that had such good role models in the past. Hopefully we can be the same for someone else.

    2. Me, too, Cheryl. Do you suppose actual hardship (aka real crisis) helps us to be grateful and encourage others? I just found out my niece & Goddaughter is having a 2nd round of breast biopsies today. I had DCIS in 1999 at 38 yrs. old. My mom had metastasized ductal carcinoma 9 yrs. ago. A cousin died of it in her 50s. You've had your own losses. Worries about Adi and her big sister now.

      So... if meat prices skyrocket, I know I can make beans, or egg dishes, or cheesy something in order to have proteins. I know how to get by and understand how blessed I am every day. There's so much daily angst these days (it seems) that it's easy to lose perspective. Thank you for regular reminders to be grateful and kind. We never know what someone else is struggling with.

    3. P.S. If you're so inclined, Shannon could use a prayer. She's in her 40s with an 11 yr. old son.

    4. There are so many ways to eat well and get the protein and vitamins we need. SO many yond=g folks just don't have a clue. I try to teach as many as possible that I can reach.
      I know we had good teachers. I never had horrible times financially - although I used to have a lot f bills (back in the day). I just knew to do what Mom did.
      It helped me survive pretty well.

      I just said a prayer for Shannon - prayers that her body is healed and she is allowed to raise her son. I will keep her in my prayers.

  3. Yes, we can do it! I mentioned needing to keep cranberry juice and having trouble finding it last week. So I did some research and lime juice in water will do the same for my kidneys and we keep frozen wedges of limes at all times. Problem solved!

    Our go to for colds is Lavender essential oil. We put it on the bottoms of our feet and put on socks and are most of the time well in 6-8 hours. Our son and his wife swear by Emergen C. If they feel something coming on they take it right away and rarely get sick.

    1. It is amazing all the things nature gives us to heal our bodies. God says we have all we need here on earth. A little research and you had answers.
      I got a box of Emergen C on clearance a few weeks back. It can't. I love natural remedies. Thanks for the lavender tip.

  4. Great post Cheryl. We all really do need to realize how well we do have it. I know we all go through struggles at one point or another but we still have so much to be grateful for. The first thing I do every day, sometimes before I even open my eyes, is say Thank You to God for another day.

    1. You and me both gal. First thing and last thing - and I can't tell you how many times in between.
      Being thankful to our Creator is so important - we shouldn't just always ask for think - but say thank you as well.
      We are truly blessed.

  5. I've tried to have preparedness talks with some of my urban friends, but they aren't listening. I'm not talking serious prepper stuff, just commonsense stuff that will get you through an illness, unemployment, weather event, etc. They are so used to being able to get what they want when they want it. These are the folks who worried they couldn't buy toilet paper. I had plenty.

    I specifically focused on supply chain issues, which they know about but can't imagine how they will be affected. Duh! My opinion is that no one is going to go hungry, but we may not be able to buy the particular groceries we want; we may have to substitute Christmas gifts, etc. Your post on being flexible is spot-on.

    A supply chain issue I hadn't heard about came up when I was in Wal-Mart last week. When I finally found a clerk, she told me this store had 200 pallets of merchandise in the back room that they can't get on the shelves. I think a lot of stores are having the same problem. The days of night stocking crews seem to be gone, at least for awhile.

    1. Some people are just clueless!!!!! Yu could bang their heads against a wall and they still wouldn't get it.
      Their philosophy "not me".

      I kind of hope stuff for Christmas is short - maybe JUST MAYBE people will go back to what is important. Obviously many learned nothing over the last year or more.

      Every single place I go - has helped wanted signs out. People feel many things are below them and demeaning. To me - some money is better than none and I am not better than anyone else.

  6. I was checking my FB this morning and a gr. niece (late 50's) was saying she had trouble sleeping last night because she had put a beef stew in the crockpot to cook overnight and it smelled so good! ; ) Then one of her friends said she had put pulled pork in her crockpot to be ready when she and her hubby got home from work. I'm smiling as I was thinking how smart they are. BUT, the friend said the pulled pork wasn't ready when they got home and they had errands to run so they left and ate out at a restaurant!!! Even an apple/cheese/peanut butter on crackers anything would have tamed the hunger pangs until they got home!! Then I read your post, Cheryl, keep them coming. I wanted so badly to copy your post and send it to her!! Shirley near Seattle

    1. We do have our SMILE moments - then somebody goes and ruins it!! LOL
      Wow, just couldn't wait a little longer. I bet they spent more than the meat and snacks would have cost - well you know they did.
      I try - you try - many of us are trying. I wish our audiences were more receptive!
      All we can do is keep trying.

  7. My family lived through the 2nd world war when lots of things were in short supply. I have a reprint of a book of recipes and meal ideas from the war and they were so inventive.

    1. They sure were. Much of my family lived through that time as well - ration books - and little to be had. I came along later.
      They were very wise and creative. Necessity is the mother of invention!

  8. I have a list of substitutions and things that can be mixed when I run short of something. I find myself using it a great deal.

    I think our parents and grandparents were wonders at using what they had when they ran out of something.

    God bless.

    1. They were great wonders. So resourceful and if we paid attention and listened - the best libraries we could have ever had!!!!
      Good for you - those lists do come in handy.

  9. Flexibility is key. The Urban Farmer and I were talking today about folks who are picky eaters. Wonder how hungry they will have to be before trying something new (and available).

    There is a fellow who has a YouTube channel called The Urban Prepper. He lives in a city in California and he has all kinds of good ideas. Folks who live in apartments may have a more difficult time because of lack of storage for extra supplies.

    Another YouTube channel we have been watching is Rachel Cooks With Love. Mostly Tex-Mex and she is a sweet lady.

    We got a downpour this afternoon. Think we've had enough for a while...ha!

    Did you know Lindy Thaxton has lung cancer? She mentioned it on Instagram. A few months of treatment...poor gal.

    1. Exactly. There are things I am not fond of - but if I were really hungry, well I could it. Some people may have a big awakening.

      There are several You Tube channels with good ideas.
      Lots and lots of rain here. Big one overnight as well.

      I saw last week they announced it on the news about Lindy. She sure has been through it. Quite the fighter.

  10. Cheryl- We could be sisters for the way we prepare and are flexible. One question- you mentioned Dollar Tree to get cheese powder or Velveeta powder?? Enquiring minds need (not want) to know! Lol!! Seriously, could you expand on that? We have DT stores all around in our city but I don’t go in often unless I know what I’m looking for or I could just turn over my pension to them!! 🤪🤪

    1. Thanks - yes we are sisters indeed in the way we prepare our homes and pantries.
      It is Velveeta cheese sauce! Not powder. It comes in a 4 oz. package and is $1. Comes in jalapeno and regular. It is just the perfect size to add extra flavor and melted sauce in a casserole or to macaroni. It is quite tasty. It probably isn't all that healthy - but sometimes we just like what we like!!! You could actually squeeze it out and eat as is. Handy to have in the pantry!!! I keep some of both flavors. It got added to Christmas baskets last year and everyone loved it!

      Yep, easy to spend in there - so need to go with a list and stick to it!

    2. I do also have cheese powders I keep on hand - but I have ordered that in the past. It came in a huge box (I think 8lbs.) and I repackaged and froze. Only take out it out and warm to room temp when I need to refill my pantry jar. I think I ordered it from Spices, Etc. Still using that 8 lbs. and it has been over 3 years.
      You can sometimes get smaller containers of cheese powder - see top picture in front. I was given that and it was from Kroger.
      Nice to have options.