May 07, 2011

Tightwad Gazette II - Day 19 - May 7th

Today is Saturday and I had the luxury of sleeping in. I’ve not been getting enough sleep lately. I’ve been staying up late and then getting up early. Sleeping in today was just what I needed. The weather is beautiful and even though I spent a portion of the day painting, I also spent some time sitting on the back porch watching the neighbor children ride their bikes.

I also treated myself today by spending some birthday money on some new Capri’s and some Bermuda shorts. I have had the money for over two months and for me to not spend it is a testament to my new way of life. I was waiting for a great sale and it was well worth the wait.

Enough about me, let’s get on to Amy Dacyczyn and the wonderful information we can glean from her book the Tightwad Gazette II.


Give to children to use for paint brushes or trim the brushes to use for stenciling.


Remove the fabric so you have the “skeleton” remaining. Then you can hang it upside down to use to hang lightweight items on to dry.


Use to place under your kick stand when you park your bike in a sandy area. You could glue a heavy duty magnet to the juice lid and then attach it to the bike somewhere so that it is ready to be used.


When you are going to replace your eye glasses but the prescription hasn’t changed, for a small fee you can have the lenses “dyed” for sunglasses. I have done this in the past and only once did it not turn out well. Sometimes the dye does not take well to the older lenses, but when it works it is a cheap way to get prescription sunglasses.


A reader wrote in to say that he needed some dirt to fill a hole in his yard. This reader thought and thought and he decided to call the local cemetery and they had dirt that he could haul away for free.


Amy never was one to fill her books with recipes as she said “blindly following recipes won’t help you save the maximum amount on your food bill.” Instead Amy has created recipes from what she has on hand. So instead of Amy giving recipes for muffins, she gives the information or process on how to create your own muffins from what you have on hand.

Here is the basic recipe to create your own muffins.

2 to 1/2 cups grain
1 cup milk
Up to 1/4 cup fat
1 egg
Up to 1/2 cup sweetener
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Up to 1 1/2 cups additions

The quantities listed are for a single batch of 12 muffins. To make the muffins combine the dry ingredients and then mix in the wet ingredients until just combined; the batter should be lumpy. Grease muffin tin and fill cups two thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (give or take 5 minutes).

Grain: Use 2 to 2 1/2 cups of white flour. Or substitute oatmeal, cornmeal, whole wheat flour, rye flour, or flake cereal for 1 cup of the white flour. Or substitute 1 cup leftover cooked oatmeal, rice, or cornmeal for 1/2 cup of the white flour and decrease liquid to 1/2 cup.

Milk: Use 1 cup. Or substitute buttermilk or sour milk (add a tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup milk). Or substitute fruit juice for part or all of the milk.

Fat: Use 1/4 cup vegetable oil or 4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine. Or substitute crunchy or regular peanut butter for part or all of the fat. The fat can be reduced or omitted with fair results if using a “wet addition.”

Egg: Use 1 egg. Or substitute 1 heaping tablespoon of soy flour and 1 tablespoon of water. If using a cooked grain, separate the egg, add the yolk to the batter, beat the white until stiff, and fold into the batter.

Sweetener: Use between 2 tablespoons and 1/2 cup sugar. Or substitute up to 3/4 cup brown sugar. Or substitute up to 1/2 cup honey or molasses (I substitute sorghum for the molasses in my recipes as it is cheaper), and decrease milk to 3/4 cup.

Baking Powder: Use 2 teaspoons. If using whole or cooked grains or more than 1 cup of additions, increase to 3 teaspoons. If using buttermilk or sour milk, decrease to 1 teaspoon and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

Salt: Use 1/2 teaspoon, or omit if you have a salt-restricted diet.

The following ingredients are optional. Additions can be used in any combination, up to 1 1/2 cups total. If using more than 1 cup of wet additions, decrease the milk to 1/2 cup.

Dry Additions: Nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut and so on.

Moist Additions: Blueberries, chopped apple, freshly shredded zucchini, shredded carrot, and so on.

Wet Additions: Pumpkin puree, applesauce; mashed, cooked sweet potato; mashed banana; mashed, cooked carrot, and so on. If using 1/2 cup drained, canned fruit or thawed shredded zucchini, substitute the syrup or zucchini liquid for all or part of the milk.

Spices: Use spices that complement the additions, such as 1 teaspoon cinnamon with 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or cloves. Try 2 teaspoons grated orange or lemon peel.

Jellies and Jam: Fill cups half full with a plain batter. Add 1 teaspoon jam or jelly and top with 2 more tablespoons of batter.

Topping: Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the batter in the tins.

Nonsweet Combinations: Use only 2 tablespoons sugar and no fruit. Add combinations of the following: 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 3 strips fried and crumbled bacon, 2 tablespoons grated onion, 1/2 cup shredded zucchini, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Spices could include a teaspoon of parsley and a pinch of marjoram.

This may seem complicated at first but as you bake a few batches you will get the hang of it.

I use leftover cereal such as grapenuts, bran flakes, raisin bran and even shredded wheat in this recipe. I have also used leftover cooked carrots in this recipe. I mashed them and made them into a cinnamon spice type muffin. When you have some leftover odds and ends you will find that you can come up with a really great concoction. In fact you may want to keep track of what you do create so that if you end up with a “great hit” you will want to make it again.

For Monday May 9th, let’s read pages 167 through 176. In this reading Amy covers the “Pantry Principle.”


Audry said...

I've read this book many times, but never tried the muffin recipe! I will remedy that during this week. I'll let you know how they turn out!

Joan J said...

I'm reading your Tightwad posts with great interest. I have the I, II, III book somewhere, and now I want to get it out and look for it. Thanks for the muffin recipe! I've been looking for a good basic recipe I can use to make muffins with ripe fruits I find on sale, or leftover oatmeal my grandson doesn't finish. This fits the bill perfectly.