Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cheap and Yummy!

 Yesterday Ben was home, as his hours at work are shorter now, and so he, Eliana and I got to spend some time together! It was strange being just the 3 of us. Eliana definitely didn't mind the extra attention:) We had to hang around home for awhile so that our maintenance guy could do the yearly home inspection and then we made a trip to one of our favorite libraries and Goodwill. Ben scored several Shakespeare books (he is a VERY well-read individual!!) and Eliana and I found a few little treasures, too. We found a few good children's books to add to the prize bucket, a couple canning jars and a pair of summer shorts for Samuel. I also found this adorable set of Alphabet flash cards:

I must've had my phone turned the wrong way because both pictures are a little off. Oops! They are brightly colored on one side...

And have cute old-fashioned pictures on the other side. They are really sturdy and cost only .99 for the set! Eliana has been having fun with them.

So far my first month of budgeting is going SO well!! E and I did our 2nd grocery shopping trip today and once again made it just under $100! I even found a couple of really good deals! I am not a couponer, as I mentioned in my first budgeting post, but I went ahead and checked to see if anything I was buying had a coupon and found one at Target for noodles and for pasta. I was thrilled to see they were already on sale so I grabbed 7 boxes of various noodles for $.78 each and got 3 jars of spaghetti sauce for only $2.12! Stocking up on things like that will only help my subsequent shopping trips be even cheaper!

I was much better this time about sticking strictly to my list. Last week really opened my eyes to how easy it is to impulse buy. I practically put blinders on this time and forced myself to keep walking and not even be swayed a tiny bit by the sweet 3 year old voice saying, "Can we get that?" every few minutes. I am feeling really good about this so far. We were out of eggs by Sunday night and worked hard to ration our milk so we had a little left this morning. We are going through about 2 gallons a week! This is really helping us be aware of how much/how often we eat and really appreciating what we have around the house.

And get this: (READ CAREFULLY) Budgeting meals do NOT have to be boring!! Really. So far, we have all really enjoyed the meals and I have tried several new things like Broccoli Rigatoni (SO good!), Mexican White Bean Soup (It made enough to freeze some, too!), and tonight's meal Bean Burgers on Pretzel Buns with Roasted Veggies. I will share some of the other meal recipes soon! Here is the Pretzel Bun recipe I used. They were great! Next time I would make them a little ahead of time because there was a lot of preparation going on at the same time. I would also double the recipe and freeze some. Yum!

The bean burgers were great! I started with an original recipe on allrecipes.com but changed it up a bit. It made enough for all us for dinner, a couple for leftovers for lunch tomorrow for B to take to work and 19 more to freeze.....that's right. 19:) My freezer is getting stocked with all of these extra meal portions!!

I cook up 2 lbs of dried beans this morning (and afternoon) and froze a couple of quart jars of them and had enough for all of the bean burgers!

Bean Burgers

1 lb. dried pinto beans, soaked, cooked and drained (follow directions on bag!)
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
4 eggs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper
3/4-1 cup flour
oil for cooking

1. Saute onions in 1 TB oil until nicely browned, stirring often. Set aside.

2. Put well-drained beans in a large bowl and mash, mash, mash!!
3. When beans are well-mashed (or as mashed as you want), add in eggs, breadcrumbs, onions and seasonings and mix very well. Add in flour 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture is just stiff enough to form into patties. It will be a very soft mixture and your hands will get messy!!

4. Heat oil in skillet (we used our cast-iron skillet). Sprinkle cornmeal on a large plate or cutting board. Grab a handful of bean mixture and lightly pack into a ball. Gently press the ball into the cornmeal on the plate to form a pattie. Repeat on the other side.

5. Fry the bean burgers in the skillet on both sides until cooked through. Serve on a bun with cheese, lettuce and tomato. YUM!! They were a huge hit with everyone and I am so happy that the extra work of making them all resulted in 2 bags of frozen burgers for later meals!!

I served the burgers with a side of roasted broccoli and cauliflower, which was delicious!

Who said cheap has to be boring??


Aunt t said...

You are a very clever little lady with your cooking! I should try your bean burgers sometime. They look good. You must have no picky eaters in your family. 😀

Grandma W said...

I only have one thing to say..
You AMAZE me!!

grandma said...

Oh my Aunt T is right you have no picky eaters..I can not imagine me serving your Grandpa bean burgers..maybe if you cooked them..He is such a meat and potato fella..The way we grew up..My Auntie always had a little meat, a little potato or something and a veggy and always a dessert..It could be fruit..We always ate little por
tions..Now Grandpas mom..was different lots of food and so good..Well anyway this all to say you are so creative to provide great meals that don't cost so much..More power to you..Love