Sunday, April 19, 2009

Money Monday

So, lately I've been talking about how tired I am of this debt thing. It's been a difficult week and we have totally screwed up the budget, going out to eat TWICE and leaving our grocery budget down to $18 for the next 11 days....Yikes.

I can take money out of savings, but I'm not going to do it if I can help it. Today I tried to set things up for the week. I HAD to go to the store and am ASTONISHED that I've not been to Aldi's sooner...I actually got a beautiful head of cauliflower for 99 cents...I kid you not. 99 cents??? You can't even get it on sale for $2.50!! (I spent $7.50 there on fresh broccoli, cauliflower, bananas, a bag of apples, and a 3lb container of oats). So my budget it down to $10.50. 

I made egg salad.

I made homemade peanut butter granola cereal for the week. You can find the recipe here. I love it because it has honey in it - NO SUGAR. You can eat it with or without milk and add whatever you want - raisins, almonds, etc. YUMMY!

I made bread so I don't have to buy it with the $18! I've been asked by one awesome cousin how I made the bread. I'm old fashioned so I do it by hand. It's relaxing for me to knead dough, though if you have a bread machine - go for it! The recipe I use is pretty much fool proof and tastes so fluffy and delicious you'll want it every day! I've posted the recipe before, but you can find it here. It's called beginner's bread so you really can't mess it up! Amy - feel free to call me if I can help you make it!

Lastly, I made dinner tonight using one (1) large chicken breast and we all 3 ate and had a container full of leftovers. How'd I do it? - I've been asked.

Well, I cut the chicken up into small bite sized pieces..very thin...think Johnny Carinos thin. I seasoned and cooked it in a pan with some onion and removed it. 

Then I took one of those 99 cent boxes of Pasta Sides and cooked it in the pan I cooked the chicken in, only I threw in some frozen chopped spinach - anything to stretch the meal!. When that was done I added the chicken back in and made a bag of frozen green beans seasoned them and voila. There was  a decent amount of chicken in each serving too.

I'm all about fillers and things you can add to stretch a meal - starches and veggies do that - spinach, rice, beans, corn, broccoli potatoes or pasta - whatever you like. 

If you want to stretch your meat - don't make "hunks" of meat like steaks, meatloaf, or whole chicken breasts.

Think - fajitas, mini meat balls, and stir fry.

Here are some fillers I use.

Tacos - line shells or wraps with refried beans - you'll use half the meat and you'll be twice as full. (you can also add rice to taco meat). I've mentioned before that a pound of taco meat will give us 3 dinners.

Meatballs (ground meat in general - even burgers) - bread crumbs, eggs etc.

Rice - beans/spinach/broccoli

Another staple to add is SOUP. It goes a long way. Some men are cranky when it comes to soups but you can add a quarter pound of mini meat balls or 1 shredded chicken breast to keep them quiet and fill their bellies.

Beans and eggs are good and inexpensive sources of protein that you can use in meatless dishes.

Lastly - there is something to be said for eating LESS. We've tried to cut out second helpings and that helps to stretch food - not your waistline!


  1. Hey there! I'm liking the tips in your blog! I give you a lot of credit for sticking to a set budget. Jay and I tried several times to stick to an envelope budget system....and we blew it every time!

    Have you ever tried to make your own laundry detergent? I have been for the last 6 months. It is sooooo easy and inexpensive to make it myself. Now, the money that one would save is certainly not enough to say, pay for a vacation or anything ground shaking like that. But, if you could add a few bucks a month to your grocery budget or family night or whatever, it might be worth your time. We also don't buy dryer sheets anymore...a couple of new tennis balls in the dryer do just fine. And apparently, dryer sheets are bad for the environment????? Anyhow...our laundry smells like nothing, but it's clean!!!!

    Let me know if you're interested in "cooking" some up. If you already do, then tell me to stick a (clean) sock in it! :)

  2. Thanks Rachel! We're following Dave Ramsey's plan! I can't wait to be debt free. I'd LOVE your "recipe" for laundry soap. I haven't known anyone PERSONALLY who's done it, so I've been nervous to do it. I'll give it a shot since you say it works! :)

    Also, we don't do the envelope thing. We were AWFUL with cash. We're just better with a debit card!! So, budgets CAN be done without cash!! It gets old, but we're used to it now. It seemed to take FOREVER for it to work.


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