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Cashing in on the Chips of Life

In nature, God has a marvelous way of taking something, a tree, for instance, and when it is finished, He turns it into something else useful: compost to feed other living organisms. For a Frugal Catholic or any frugal homemaker for that matter, it is with much ingenuity that we learn how to take the little leftover chips of our stuff of life and use them up. Two such examples which have plagued me for years are #1. soap chips, and #2. corn chip chips. Now we all know what soap chips look like—those leftover fragments of a cake of soap; but by corn chip chips, I mean those small remaining pieces at the bottom of your tortilla chip bag. Both have haunted me for further use.

Thus after many years of intense study, The Frugal Catholic presents two solutions for cashing in on the chips of life: #1. The Soap Sock, and #2. Pedro’s Special.

1. The Soap Sock– Gather whatever leftover soap slices you have and stuff them in the bottom of a thin men’s sock, a worn-out women’s knee-high, or the cut-off end of one leg of pantyhose. Tie the end loosely, wet it down, and lather up! It actually acts like a soap-filled washcloth. After usage, hang The Soap Sock over something in the shower like the handle so it will dry. Untie and add additional chips as they become available. Never again will a soap sliver haunt you!

Step One--Cut off the end of a stocking or long men's sock

Step One–Cut off the end of a stocking or long men’s sock.

Tie the soap sock in a loose knot so the soap is at the end.

Step Two–Tie the soap sock in a loose knot so the soap is at the end.

2. Pedro’s Special–Alas, this solution only came to me recently when I opened up my old standby cookbook, The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken, 1960. And there was the solution to corn chip chips! Pedro had already figured it out, and when I served it to the family, they gave it a high rating which means it is worth passing on. (For ease of collection, dump the corn chip chips as they become “chippy” into a Ziploc bag, and toss the bag into the freezer until you get enough.)

Pedro’s Special—FRUGAL CATHOLIC STYLE--4 ample servings RATED 9.5

(Very easy; very good with beer; good even without it.)

1 pound ground beef

1 pound can kidney  beans with liquid

1 chopped onion

¼ teaspoon oregano

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 can tomato sauce, plus 1/3 can water

3 to 4 cups corn chips chips

extra shredded lettuce and onion

Brown the beef, onion, and garlic together. Stir in tomato sauce and additional liquid, oregano, and chili powder.  Locate a good-sized covered casserole dish, grease it, and alternate layers of this mixture with beans and corn chip chips. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes, and uncover it for the last ten. Before you serve it, sprinkle with extra lettuce and onions for that “south of the border look.”

To sum up best on Cashing in on the Chips of Life, Proverbs 13:4 passes it forward even better than Pedro. “The soul of the sluggard craves, and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” (RSV)


Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author

The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.

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