We had some good friends over who are Mexicans living in Spain and they brought me a product from Mexico. Oh my!!! Mayonnaise with chipotle peppers. I guess I could write pages and pages trying to explain how good this is but I suggest that you try it… just once.
Now, as far as I know they don’t sell this in supermarkets in the USA but I found some on-line via AMAZON.COM. I added it to my blog store. If anyone has seen it in the grocery store, let me know!
Boy, this is a time saver, super yummy and easy. I got this from the cookbook called Dining on a Dime.
It’s a homemade version of Rice-a-Roni. I made several batches.
Seasoned Rice Mix
1 cup spaghetti (broken into very small pieces or vermicelli which is what I used.)
2 cups of rice, uncooked
¼ cup dried parsley
6 Tablespoons of instant chicken or beef bouillon powder
2 teaspoons of onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Mix all the ingredients & store in an airtight container.
To use put 1 cup mix, 2 Tablespoons of butter or margarine and 2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce hear and simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.
This recipes makes 3 batches.
I’ve been thinking about this for some time; maybe because we see little bitty increases in prices on several/most items. If you have a set amount of money that you can count on each month, or like us, you get paid once a month and you don’t know what you have to budget because it changes each month, this can be an interesting subject. It’s practical; it’s spiritual.
Here are a couple of examples from my life:
If a postage stamp goes up (like our did recently) only 4 cents for each letter, we have to ask ourselves, ‘where do we get the extra 4cents for each letter?’ This could mean one or 2 dollars a month in our case. Or if the cheese or gasoline prices (now almost $8 a gallon for us) rise…
I keep a notebook of food prices. I KNOW they are going up! I can see it each time I enter the prices for the food I buy. Maybe in the USA you can do this fantastic ‘couponing game’ but here in Spain it just doesn’t exist.
I have 2 options:
- find a way to get more income.
- find a way to reduce costs somewhere else
I’ve been working on both.
- as far as income goes, we are now (and have been for about 2 years) renting out rooms in our house to other Christian workers. This has been a real help and we look for a win/win for both us & the ones staying in our home.
- I’m always looking for ways to reduce costs.
- I pulled up the rose bushes a few years ago and put vegetables in their place.
- I have 3 hens for eggs & for them to do ‘garden work’.
- I can (pressure can) meat and meals when food goes on special.
- we eat less meat
- I strive to not waste a scrape of food.
- I bake all of our bread or buy when it’ marked down
- I cook from scratch
What do you do? I don’t want even 1¢ to slip through my fingers wasted.
I personally see the Lord for supplying all we need (and more!). We have so many treats that people bring to us or send us. It’s the Lord’s provision and I know it. Last month our daughter-in law, Cheri brought us a whole duffel bag of cake mixes and muffin mixes. Since I make cupcakes for the Ladies meetings each month you can see what a blessing and saver of time this is for me!
When I need inspiration about what I can make with that last carrot or potato, I know that all I have to do is pray and the Lord will fill me with such creativity that I know for sure it’s not me!
We’re living in exciting times and I’m more eager than ever to steward all resources well.
Here’s a niffy Internet site called RECIPE KEY. You can track all of your pantry items here online and hunt for recipes with what you’ve got on hand by using a drag & drop method.
Say, you want to use up that ½ jar of salsa in the fridge; just plug in the key word and it will show you your options & the percentage of the items you already have in your pantry. What you don’t have, just write on your grocery list as you plan your menus.
Menu planning is absolutely essential to living on a budget and not having food go to waste. It’s a practical exercise but I also see it as a spiritual one. When I steward my resources well in all areas of my life, I believe the Lord is pleased. How often we pray for the Lords provision & blessing only to see some of it wasted?
I’m really not a very creative person and this helps me to depend on the Lord as I pray and ask HIM for HIS inspiration in all things.
Recipe Key is just another tool to help me track the food I have on hand and use it well.
Today we’re plowing through the leftovers in preparation for the Mexican dinner we’re having this weekend and the road trip we have planned on Monday.
Leftover Cream of Butternut soup
Leftover Chicken Masala
leftover green beans
Pizzas made on leftover baguette.
Saving money & time. That interests me. Now it’s time to ‘cash in ‘ on a pretty full pantry and use what I have in order to save every penny I can during Read more »
I’m still on the path to use what I have and stay within my grocery budget but today we have a guest with us. I don’t know her yet … she is a friend of a friend who is in Madrid for a short time. It will be fun to meet her at church and then bring her home for our mid-day meal.
All of these ingredients I have in the house and the meal will be ‘prepped’ the day before. It’s wonderful to be able to use the food I already have.
Here’s my menu for the day:
John had eggs & toast & I had a piece of fruit
Cream of Butternut Squash
~ I got this in the village… for FREE
~ I bought 2 baguettes …leftovers will be used for bread pizzas
Chicken Fillets (breasts)
~ I have some breasts in the freezer and will make breaded fillets.
Pasta with tomato sauce & Parmesan cheese
~ which I have in the pantry
green beans w/bacon
~ I have a large restaurant sized can which I added bacon, onion (green onions from the garden) and garlic to. The leftovers will be used throughout the week as our vegetable until it’s gone. The bacon was purchased recently, sliced in individual baggies and frozen. I’ll use one of these.
We’re going to a friends house for supper tonight. I have a meeting for the Ladies Ministry Team and we meet over a meal. No cooking tonight.
Today I made yogurt again. I used 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt I had + 1 liter of whole milk that cost me 0,48 euro cents. I got 1 liter of yogurt out of that and I can assure you it’s a very economical way to have yogurt.
I’m also going to try to save money by not buying sour cream (quark here) and using the natural unsweetened yogurt instead.
John bought me this yogurt maker for Christmas, and I like it a lot. I know of people who make it without the machine.
Making your own yogurt is a real money saver!
There are so many small things you can do to make your food challenge a big success. Here are just a few:
· Limit shopping trips and make do with what you already have.
· Google for ingredient substitutes if you can’t think of any.
· Plan your meals so that you don’t overspend or waste food.
· Give your pantry and freezer a regular clear out and use up what’s in there.
· Look for recipes that use leftovers.
· Learn how to cut up a chicken on Youtube instead of buying individual pieces.
· Buy a larger piece of meat and cut it up and divide for several meals.
Just imagine the dollars you’ll save by doing these simple things!
I think sometimes our grocery list would only have a couple of items on it if we really worked at eating everything in our pantry and freezer. If we have a can of green beans, do we really need to buy fresh? I want to use what I have on hand already. It’s something I’m working on.
Today I took out a piece of skirt steak that I had, some leftover zucchini patties, mashed potatoes from yesterday and a bean soup to start with. I’d really like t get to the bottom of my fridge.
I tried this recipe that I found on You Tube and will make it again. These can be served for breakfast lunch or dinner. It’s so simple and it used up some pie dough I had. I hope you’ll try this recipe and let me know what you think. It’s a very frugal recipe.
Today in the morning we returned to Madrid after a week in Aix en Provence France baby-sitting 3 of our grandchildren, Elijah, Ana and Evangeline. The parents we’re off to a mini holiday in Paris before their 4th baby arrives this summer.
The food plan today looks like this:
Breakfast- we’ll eat at Anita and Neils house in France.
Lunch- a frozen individual pizza I bought for me (372 calories) and cooked and sandwiches for John to be eaten on the plane. It’s a 9:30am flight and is only 1 hr 30 mins. but it’s always nice to eat on the plane… helps pass the time. Flying can be quite boring.
Dinner (supper)- will consist of thawed beef & gravy that was leftover and frozen with some swiss chard from my garden & instant mashed potatoes that I have in the pantry. No dessert.
I’ll also get to check on my hens and see if there are any eggs left. Our neighbors have checked on them and have taken the eggs that they need.
Later… we had 21 eggs waiting for us! What fun!
It looks like we will be able to eat 2 more days of leftovers frozen in the freezer, Friday & Saturday. Sunday we’ll have a guest for our 2pm meal after church and Sunday evening I have a supper meeting that John and I both will attend.
I’m putting in my order for groceries that I plan to have last for 62 days. I’ll begin on May 5th and these are to last me until July 6th when I make another order. Lately, to save time, gas & effort, I’ve been ordering my groceries from Carrefour (a local grocery store) and they deliver for only 6 euros. It would cost me more in gas to get to the nearest Carrefour if I drove myself. It’s a great option and I can work on my menus and list on-line throughout the month(s). The amount I’ll spend in EUROS is 150€ which equals $222 USD at the current exchange rate of 1.48. These groceries, lasting 62 days, will average $3.58 (USD) each day or $27.75 per week (8 weeks). I’ve actually done better than this but I have had to buy cleaning supplies, toilet paper and detergents in this order. So… Starting May 5th- July 6th this is my plan. We will have several guests staying with us and a dinner party planned as well.
Here in Spain, we’re receiving less of the falling US dollar that we exchange for euros each month. The further I can stretch our money the better we can meet all of our goals and bills. My plan is to every few days, or daily if I have time, record here what we are eating and using up.
The lovely thing will be the tomatoes, peppers, chard, eggplant & green beans I planted in my wee garden and also the 3 eggs I get each day from my 3 hens. Every so often, when we have many guests for breakfast, I have to buy a dozen eggs, but I try to ‘budget’ them.
Here are a few of the items that I ordered:
12 boxes of milk
12 kilos of flour
1 kilo of popcorn seeds
10 liters of juice (I buy these for house guests we have)
24 cans of diet coke~ for family guests … this is not usually on my list!
5 liters of olive oil
64 rolls of toilet paper
These items have driven up the bill this month. I would love to hear how you’re saving money and using the ingredients you have on hand to make your grocery budgets stretch. I also would love to hear what you’re sacrificing now in order to save for something in the future. Perhaps a house down-payment, debt reduction or a holiday.