The Meaning of Means

When you have limited means, it means that your entire life is limited. There is so much that you simply can’t do, like…..see first run movies, or go out for the evening, just because. You can’t buy that new blouse you liked, and shoes are on an as needed basis only. Then there are the kids, who you would like to give anything you can; so you find ways to give them what you can.

For a while I donated my plasma for cash. The money isn’t really in the payment for the plasma itself, but in the incentive bonuses that they give to return donors. My son’s birthday is in the first week of December, so Christmas was approaching rapidly. At that time, the plasma center offered extra incentives. The first donation was $25, but the second was $30. There was a bonus after the fourth donation. My arm developed a definite crater where the needle was repetitiously inserted. I completed my fifth donation, and then the big bonus came after the sixth donation made that month.

My son was waiting for me when I got home.

“Can we go now?” he asked.

Before it was time to take my bandage off, we were coming out of Game Stop with a reconditioned X-Box. We had managed to pay cash.

“This is the best birthday present ever! Thanks Mom!”

My son developed a loving and devoted relationship with that machine for the next three years until the poor thing whirred and sputtered to its death. The hours of happiness that it created for him cannot be reproduced. White blood cells can be.


This Weeks Recipe:

Ham and Macaroni Bake

Items marked with a * are from the Food Bank.Mac & Cheese

While Americans have adopted the box of instant macaroni and cheese as a staple carbohydrate, a plain bag of macaroni noodles is cheaper and far more flexible. A can of creamy soup such as mushroom or cheese can help make a good base for your cream sauce. Otherwise a thick creamy sauce can be made with a simple roux.

1 lb. bag of macaroni noodles*

1 cup Cubed ham or turkey ham

1 16 oz. bag Frozen Broccoli florets*

1 Can of cream soup, mushroom, chicken or cheese.


2 tbsp. butter or margarine*

½ cup flour*

1-2 cups milk*

2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated

Boil the macaroni noodles until al dente. Drain and pour into a baking dish. Heat up the broccoli until thawed, and drain. Mix with noodles. Add ham.

On the stovetop mix the soup with some milk and grated cheese until thick and creamy. If you want to use a roux, do this: melt the margarine or butter in a small sauce pan. Add some flour, one table spoon at a time. The butter and flour will become thick and make a paste. Add a small amount of milk, stirring constantly until the milk is absorbed and the paste is smooth again. Repeat. The idea is to keep adding milk to increase the volume of your sauce.  Pace your cooking so that the sauce has a chance to thicken between each addition of milk. When the sauce is about the amount that you want, add the cheese and melt it into the sauce. You can add spices and seasonings such as garlic, seasoning salt or ground pepper.

Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles, meat and veggie mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Allow to sit for 5-15 minutes after coming from the oven, and enjoy!



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