Ok, I haven’t been knitting lately. I caught the sewing bug so I’ve been drowning myself in fabric. But I promise I will be working on some wooly projects shortly.
I’ve also been doing some more cooking and baking. With the prices of everything going up up and up, we’ve been taking a closer look at our spending and trying to decide where we can cut back and budget better. Step one for me was simply to not go anywhere. If we stay home and find ways to entertain ourselves at home then we are using less gas.
We also bought a large plastic container with a locking lid so that we can more effectively compost. We’ve been only doing a half – assed job of it lately, but the less garbage we produce, the less garbage bags we use……you know. Plus more compost equals nice garden. Speaking of which, check it out:
Have you ever seen such huge squash leaves??? And let me tell you, we are squashing it up big time. I may have to take up canning.
I have also discovered some nice little tomatoes growing in that should be ripening up nicely soon, and there are some lovely flowers popping up:
I have also planted some cucumbers and lovely little flowers that my neighbor brought over. I have the best neighbors!!!!
But back to cooking. I want to eat as cheaply as possible, but I really like to have a wide variety of foods. Let’s face it – hot dogs and spaghetti are nice and economical but they get old REAL fast. So I sat down with my trusty Cooking Light magazines and came up with a bunch of simple and flavorful “peasant meals” of various origins. I have a great list of quick and easy curries I want to try but I’ve been waiting for Paul to be out of town again because he doesn’t like curry. (Crazy, right??? I mean, who doesn’t like curry?????) BUt he does enjoy Cuban food a lot. SO when I found a Venezuelan variation on Black Beans and Rice, I knew I had to try it. The best part is how few ingredients there are in it. I didn’t have any black beans but I already had the rice and seasonings, so I just bought beans and some plantains and a lime. And this was the result:
Can you say YUMMY??? Everyone loved it (even the picky kids!!!) and there was enough leftover for a whole other meal, possibly TWO! In fact we’ll be finishing it off tonight along with the Hoisin Chicken Buns I’ll be whipping up (thank you again to Cooking Light!)
And then there was the pie. We got some blueberries at Sam’s Club so I turned them into this:\
So while I did great with the beans and rice (no fat, thank you very much) I have been overdoing it on the pie. I need to do double the yoga now. But hey, it’s worth it. The way I see it, what’s summer without a blueberry pie?
With any luck I’ll manage to find a whole heaping mess of cheap meals that everyone will love and our grocery costs will decrease. That’s the goal. We are suffering from lack of swimming, but as I’ve said before I just can’t justify the cost of the pool here too often. It’s too bad there’s no pool here at home – we’d have a blast this summer without ever leaving our back yard! I just have to find other ways to keep the kids busy. They have an awful lot of energy and I have a hard time getting them to burn it off properly. Mostly they fight and drive me crazy. We will go on vacation this summer for a week – up to NY to see the in – laws. I can’t wait to get these kids out of state for awhile and do some fun things with them. Locked up inside in front of the tv is no way for kids to spend summer vacation. Especially Neve, since she’s starting school this fall.
In the meantime I’m cleaning the house, trying to de-clutter and make things more efficient, and having cuddle time with the cutest baby ever.