Hear ye, Hear ye!! (no, no, the British aren’t coming). I hereby declare Friday night as pasta night! I’m not talking about the same old… spaghetti & meatballs or macaroni & cheese stuff, no, I’m on a quest to find, cook and eat some yummy pasta recipes. Since John and I don’t go out to eat in restaurants, this will be our ‘night out’.
Hey, we want to find fun things to do that don’t cost a lot of money, try new things and have a party!
Here’s what I’m trying this Friday Night.I got this recipe from:
45 min | 15 min prep
- 1/2 lb spaghetti
- 1 (14 ounce) can Italian tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
- 2 tablespoons black olives, minced
- 2 tablespoons green olives, minced
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 3 ounces red wine
- Parmesan cheese
- fresh basil leaf, chopped
- Sauté onions, garlic, and pepper flakes in the olive oil for about two minutes until fragrant.
- Add tomatoes and half of their juices, sugar, wine, fresh parsley, olives, capers, anchovy paste,(or anchovies)and Italian seasoning.
- Bring to a boil and simmer about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding more reserved juice if it becomes dry. Break up large chunks of tomatoes but please leave a chunky consistency, we’re NOT making spaghetti!
- While this is simmering, prepare spaghetti until done and drain.
- Sauce should be ready now so combine pasta and sauce and toss well.
- Top with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
* I’ll use the basil from my garden.
Our ‘entertainment budget’ is ….drum roll…. 10 euros a month. Now, this month, that converts to $6.99. Not much for going ‘out on the town’ or the typical dinner & a movie. So here is what we do:
We take that 10 euros a month and put it in the savings with the hopes that we can take a real vacation.You know the kind I mean… sitting next to a pool, a cool drink and a good book or seeing some sights we’ve been wanting to see.
So what have we been doing for fun? One of the things we do is; pop in a tape (yep… VHS… hey it still works) of dance lessons we bought about 5 years ago and we’re lately learning how to waltz. We’re trying to prepare for the next church wedding in October when they always have a waltz and we can never join in on that one (our church friends have a lot of fun!). Now, I’ll admit, we do it badly (very); we step on each others feet, laugh more than dance, but it’s free and it’s something we can do together. We’d like to do it weekly but we have lot of guests so it’s not always possible.
What do you do for a cheap date?
Here’s the progress on my plants in the greenhouse. Mind you, I’m only interested at this time in growing vegetables. This my attempt to squeeze every penny (euro cent) to death! My goal is to grow 100% of the lettuce we eat (we’d like to eat 2 salads a day) and hopefully the rest of the vegetables too…though I have not been able to see how I can do that yet.
Let me explain to you my “program”. Remember you can see a larger version of the photo by clicking on it.
This is a photo of the outside of the little greenhouse. You can see some of my plants though the plastic.
You can see the lettuce growing and the other containers are: lettuce, mint, oregano, par-cel, basil, mixed greens, dill, eggplant, tomatoes, cilantro, tomatillo, green beans, crookneck squash, chives, & arugula. Thanks to Mary, Jesseka and Rebekah for the seeds!
Here is the other side, on the top row, I have lettuce at various stages. My hope is that I can harvest enough each day to never run out. I’ve also planted some in my garden, with high hopes of a good production. I have scallions, cherry tomatoes, micro-greens, potatoes in various stages, cilantro and parsley.
I have cilantro in the garden plus 3 pots growing as above and 3 more trays waiting to germinate. Cilantro is not that common here and I can find it only at one store, plus, it’s expensive. Thanks again to my MOM for sending me the seeds!
Here is a close-up of some lettuce. It’s very tender and I just pick off what I need for the meal.
By the by, all the ‘trays’ you see, are what meat and vegetables come in here. I simply wash them out, add potting soil and plant. It also keeps my greenhouse more organized.
Each tray is labeled with a popsicle stick that I bought at a craft store in Chicago. I bought large ones and small ones. This is a very cheap solution to keeping track of what I’m planting. For only a few $ I have enough to last for years and years.
I hope the next photos I post will be of lush plants in very pot! So far, the lettuce, dill, oregano, cilantro, some scallions, micro-greens and arugula are “up”. I water once a day… spend 10 mins. enjoying the new growth and it gets me out of the house and office and I’m having a good time. Growing vegetables gives me hope.
Fun times! We are in the village working and hoping to get a lot of work done. I marketed for the summer before leaving Madrid at the cheapest store because the village stores are at least triple the price. Just can’t do that. I have stayed within my budget however. So… this week my 10 Euros went for:
.69-box of whole milk
.23-liter of soda
.90-2 kilos of baking flour
.86-one kilo of sugar
4.29-1 bag of frozen fish (merluza- forgot what that is in English)
.49-3 green peppers
.69- head of lettuce
.79- hamburger buns
+.07 left over!
+.03 from last week
+.10cents for next week!
Thursday July 10-chicken rice soup, tamales, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes
Friday July 11-lamb and barley soup, pastrami and swiss cheese sandwiches w/sprouts
Saturday July 12-chicken noodle soup, hot dogs with sauerkraut and swiss cheese on buns
Sunday July 13-cream of tomato soup, hamburgers w/ cheddar cheese on buns
Monday July 14- potato and cheese soup, bean and cheese burritos, salad
Tuesday July 15- hamburger and pasta soup, tortellini w/ cheese sauce, salad
Wednesday July 16-leftovers
This week, I decided to use a lot of the “bits and pieces” I have in the fridge and cupboards. The hot dogs come in big packages and so I plan of adding those once a week until they are gone. They are big FAT ones from Germany and pretty good, as hot dogs go. I made the tamales out of leftover chicken, the torellini is the last of the package I bought and the hamburger pasta soup, will be polishing off the last bit of the ground beef leftover from the hamburgers. I am also using the cheese I had in the freezer to make-up for the lesser amount of meat.
We’re now in the village and the freezer is small. I’m saving the fish for when Ana and Angel come to visit in August.
My Blessings this week:
* our neighbors (and guests for supper) brought us a bottle of wine (again, we will save this for guests)~ it’s the custom here in Spain to bring wine and we hear it is the same in France where are kids live.
* 1 lemon, ½ liter of tomato juice, ¼ of a can of grapefruit slices, 1 cup of orange juice, given to us by a neighbor leaving town.
What the Lord is teaching me:
Our pastor, Angel gave a good and encouraging message on Sunday, using in part, the text from Psalm 27:13-14. Let me quote it for you:
” I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Our pastor was speaking of the trials that we are all facing here in Spain with the hight cost of EVERYTHING and the mortgage crisis in Europe. Some in the church families are struggling more than others. Some of us add to these challenges, the terrible exchange rate, but his last words impacted us and ministered to us. He said,” Now this week, no matter what happens, look to the Lord and what He is teaching you.” Good words, a good reminder and encouragement to those of us who may grow weary in the struggle. So this week:
~I will be CONFIDENT of God’s provision for us.
~I WILL see the GOODNESS of the Lord.
~I will WAIT with anticipation to see Him work.
~I will be STRONG (He is my strength)
~I will TAKE HEART
~and… again (he says it twice) I will WAIT for the LORD.
Here are my tomato plants… they are growing and I should be getting those cherry tomatoes soon! I am also picking the small leaves off the chard for salad greens. I love growing my little pot garden. Please leave your comments and tell me how you are doing. Have a great money saving week!