Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cilantro White-Bean Soup

Our frugal dinner last night--YUM!

Prices are from my grocery price book.

Cilantro White Bean Soup
2 tsp. olive oil (15cents?)
1 c. onion, chopped (20 cents)
3 garlic cloves, chopped (15 cents)
1/2 lb. of white beans--I used great northern, you could use a combination of garbanzo, chick-peas, etc....if using cans, use 2 cans of beans and drain them (0.50 for the dried)
1-14.5 ounce can of chicken or vegetable broth (I use an equivalent amount of the stock that I make from scratch, so maybe 3 cents?)
1-14.5 ounce can of whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped (0.49)
3/4 tsp. dried oregano (pennies)
1/4 tsp. pepper (pennies)
lots of salt to taste if using dry beans (pennies)
1 bunch of fresh cilantro (0.50)
1 can of green enchilada sauce (0.75)

If using dried beans, cook until done and drain the liquid. In a skillet, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add to the pot with the beans, and add all other ingredients except the cilantro and enchilada sauce. Bring to a boil. Turn down and add cilantro and sauce, and simmer for five minutes. Good topped with cheese or with homemade cornbread. Serves 4 for approximately $2.86, or about $0.72 a serving.

What is left of it for lunch today:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Camping and New heights of frugality

We went camping with family last weekend. We don't take vacations since we're getting out of debt, but we do camp a couple of times a year. Usually we meet up with my family in Houston somewhere halfway between us. We budgeted $60 for Friday-Sunday of camping, including gas and the entrance fee. This time we met my Dad and sister at a place called Meridian State Park, which is just gorgeous. We liked it a lot better than our other usual place. One pic my husband took:

I bring the food for dinners, a few things for lunch, and my Dad brought breakfast stuff and the junk food. We also don't own a tent, so my Dad brings his. This particlar state park had great fishing, and we were so excited when Ethan caught his first fish! He absolutely loved it, and after he caught his first one he was hooking his own worm and actually had the patience to sit and wait for the fish to bite.

My Dad had also caught some fish, and one of our neighboring campers caught some catfish that they weren't going to eat, so they gave it to us. We decided we would have fish for dinner, courtesy of Ethan (he thought that was so cool). As my Dad was filleting the fish rather haphazardly and missing a lot of the meat, my frugal alarm bells were going off. I asked him if I could take the fish guts home with me. The look on my husband's face was priceless.

So I took the guts home and made stock out of them. For the feint of heart, I tried not to take pictures of their little fish faces in the pot:

The finished stock:

I read somewhere that fish stock is really good for a lot of health problems, including thyroid issues, which I'm pretty sure I have. I froze it all for later use. I haven't yet decided what I'm going to make with it--maybe some kind of chowder. With our 80 degree weather, it hasn't really been cold enough to think about soups yet.

Testing out the Laundry Soap

Just an update on the homemade laundry soap. We tested it out with a stomach virus last week. It worked. I'll spare you the details.