Budget Day 85: Scrounging for Dollars

It was slightly embarrassing, but I had to return the only unopened grocery item I had on hand to be able to “afford” a main ingredient for our dinner on Friday. Sure, you could say it was poor planning on my part, but regardless I desperately needed a butternut squash and only had two bucks left. So after a little brainstorming session with myself I came up with a plan to get more money. And I was thrilled to see that one of the more expensive items ($5.99 bag of brown rice) that I purchased from Earth Fare earlier in the week was still unopened!

After I made the return I was armed with a whopping $8 and change, which allowed me to get the few things I needed. So I bought the squash and some cilantro for the recipe, a few bananas, and a very small amount of rolled oats (which we were out of and I often need to make oatmeal for my daughters). I went home and in no time at all made the pictured squash peanut soup (topped with cilantro) along with some biscuits, and it turned out so delicious! The best part was that the soup was super easy to make (my favorite kind of recipe…yummy AND easy!) although our kids did not like it one bit. This shocked us because we were all but licking our bowls, but I plan to post and share this recipe soon anyway because of how much we adults loved it. Continue Reading »

Real Food School Lunches II

I have to admit that the holiday break from school gave me a much-needed break from preparing tree nut/peanut-free, real food, budget-friendly school lunches for my kindergartner every night. I truly don’t know why I feel that packing a lunch is such a pain when I would at some point be making lunch for my daughter regardless if she were at school or not! I guess it’s just the transportability and nut-free aspects that really put me over the edge sometimes.

So, as promised, here is a follow up to the school lunch post I did awhile back with some new ideas and pictures. Coming up with these ideas feels like a struggle on most nights, but I of course eventually (have to) think of something to pack for her! Continue Reading »

Budget Day 79: New Recipes

Long ago I had a goal to try at least one new recipe a week. I did okay with this for a while, but then I quickly fell off the wagon shortly after we cut processed food. I of course still try a lot of new recipes, but there have been plenty of weeks where it seems like too much effort to select and make something new. It is just so easy to stick to a simple rotation of dinners that you know your kids will eat. Our typical rotation goes something like this… quesadillas (or anything that resembles a quesadilla and gets wrapped up in a tortilla with cheese!), quiche, some sort of pasta dish, pizza, and any kind of breakfast for dinner.

I made a few 2011 New Year’s resolutions and once again I am going to try to go back to one (totally) new recipe a week! So I started off with a bang this week by making a vegetable that we hadn’t eaten in so long that my girls didn’t even know what it was…asparagus. I’ve mentioned before how important I think a child’s “first impression” is of a new food so the pressure was on for me to make some super appealing asparagus. After a little brainstorming session with our Facebook fans (thank you!) I was torn between all of the great ideas.  So I ended up making asparagus 3-ways, and it actually turned out to be the perfect way to introduce something new to our kids. Continue Reading »

Budget Day 77: Ringing in the New Year

I don’t know if I’ve been living under a rock or what, but I just sort of realized that it is tradition (for good luck) to eat Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day. I heard a friend mention it last year and then a few months ago our 5-year-old got a library book about this very topic (don’t you love it when your kids’ books teach you something!). So anyway, after reading this book my daughter was adamant about us eating black-eyed peas this year, and even though I am not a bean fan there is something to be said for tradition. So I granted her wish by buying some fresh local beans from Earth Fare and then turning them over to my husband to cook.

Our New Year’s Day meal ended up being a little hodgepodge, but regardless, it was very much enjoyed by most everyone. Our picky 3-year-old Continue Reading »