Friday, June 24, 2011

Frugal Recipes

As promised yesterday, recipes:

Chili, Mole Negro Style - 81 cents for a one cup serving

1 lb ground sirloin
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/3 red bell pepper, diced
1/3 green bell pepper, diced
1 large can diced tomatoes, or two large fresh tomatoes diced
1 tbs tomato paste
2 cups cooked pinto or romano beans
1/4 c chili powder (or to taste)
1 tsp smooth peanut butter
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder or 1 square baker's chocolate
1/4 tsp each, ground cloves, cinnamon, anise

Cook ground sirloin in large pot until all pink is gone; add diced onion, garlic and peppers, cook until onions are transparent. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, stir well, add beans and chili powder. If mix is too dry add water or tomato juice. Simmer 10 minutes. Add peanut butter, cocoa/chocolate, and spices. Stir well. Cover and simmer five minutes. Makes 12 cups.

Baked Beans - 33 cents a serving

1 lb small white navy beans
1 tsp meat tenderizer
1 smoky sausage sliced
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs dried onion flakes
1 tbs corn flour

Wash beans, pick out any dark or broken ones. Soak overnight in water. In the morning, rinse, put in crockpot, cover with cold water. Add sliced sausage, meat tenderizer, brown sugar, tomato paste, and onion flakes. Turn crock pot to high and cook until beans are tender enough to mash easily with a fork or spoon. Put corn flour in a cup or small bowl, spoon liquid from beans into corn flour and mix until it becomes a thick gruel with no lumps. Add to the crockpot and stir in completely to thicken juice.

Mama's Pasta sauce - 32 cents per half cup serving

1 lb ground sirloin
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup sliced white or brown mushrooms
3 cloves garlic minced
1/3 red bell pepper, diced
1/3 green bell pepper, diced
1 large can diced tomatoes, or two large fresh tomatoes diced
1 tbs tomato paste
1 cup tomato or V-8 juice as needed
1 tsp Mrs Dash herb and garlic seasoning
1 tsp each rosemary, marjoram, thyme,
1-2 tsp vinegar

Cook ground sirloin in large pot until all pink is gone; add diced onion, garlic, mushrooms and peppers, cook until onions are transparent and mushrooms are cooked through. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, stir well. Add Mrs. Dash's, rosemary, marjoram thyme and vinegar. If mix is too dry add tomato juice or V-8. Simmer for 10 minutes. Makes 24 - 1/2 cup servings.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Ambitious Housewife

Any time I get ambitious enough to cook up a batch of anything it's wise to take a photo! But I seem finally to be pulling out of the energy hole moving put me into, and either I'm possessed by my younger self or it's a swan song, because I spent two or three hours cooking today.

There are many days when I don't feel much like cooking, so having something in the freezer is a real bonus. Plus Tony's favorite snacks are baked beans (cold from the can - shudder) and creamed corn (cold from the can - gag) . And while there's no accounting for taste I sometimes worry about the amount of Bisphenol A he could be ingesting from all those can linings.

So, since baked beans are the world's easiest food to make, I decided to replace his canned beans with home-cooked ones. And, as we shopped yesterday I found several bargains, which combined with food from my pantry, inspired me and turned me into the cooking queen today.

When you compare home-cooked with buying prepared food you really save money, which is something lots of people are thinking about right now. I made 24 - 1/2 cup servings of pasta sauce, 12 - 1 cup servings of chili, and six servings of those baked beans Tony loves so much.

Aside from knowing that what he's eating doesn't have gluten in it, I have a bunch of meals in the freezer available for those nights when I am not feeling up to cooking. And I saved a bundle! Compare the costs of what I cooked with the costs of the same items bought.

A can of generic baked beans at WalMart = 87 cents for 400 grams = .00217 cents a gram. Home cooked baked beans = .00128 cents a gram. The entire batch cost $2.00 to make, and I got 1560 grams of cooked beans, or six one serving containers. Taste? Tony pronounced them better.

Chili? Our "emergency" meal is a can of Stagg's chili and crackers. I buy the chili at WalMart (cheapest place for them) at a cost of $2.67 a can (.006675 per gram). This is for 400 grams of chili, or a 200 gram serving for each of us. I made 12 - 250 g (1 cup) servings for $9.73 or .00325 a gram. Lots better chili too!

Then there was the pasta sauce. You can't buy pasta sauce like mine in the store, but I made 24- 125 g (1/2 cup) servings, for $7.67 or .002556 a gram.

In each case I saved approximately half and ended up with a far tastier and healthier product, made with no added fat, a generous number of vegetables and no preservatives or chemical additives.

Recipes? Tomorrow

Monday, June 20, 2011

Love in the Afternoon

Salvador the Feline Overlord had a hairball and puked in three places in rapid succession in the middle of the day.

Tony decided to pick up puke pool #3 but (as he is very nearly blind, and in this case cat puke and laminate flooring were very much the same colour) he ended up walking through it instead.

He tracked it over half the kitchen and into the bedroom while bent over peering at the floor saying, "What? Where? WHAT?" while I yelled, "Fer Gawds sake STAND STILL!"

I was going to mop anyway.

Funny what passes for love in the afternoon, when you are retired!

Friday, June 17, 2011

KIVA Loans for June 2011

Going all out this month and making two KIVA loans, because the repayments coming back from those we have lent money to in the past year or so has provided enough money to make two new loans! While we usually loan money to women, tomorrow is Father's Day, and in honor of my dear husband Tony and my dear departed Dad, Charlie, I decided to choose two men as the recipients of these loans.

Our first loan goes to Bayardo Ines Ramirez of Nicaragua, who has asked for a loan of $400.

Bayardo has a tricycle taxi service. He is very responsible and enjoys his work, and this is the first time he has requested a loan. Although the work is steady and he has been able to make a living, he does not have sufficient capital to buy new tires, make needed repairs and reupholster the passenger seat of his tricycle taxi. This small loan will enable him to maintain his taxi and continue to earn a living.

Our second loan goes to Miguel Ernesto in El Salvador. Miguel is a young man who lives with his wife and their two-year-old son. Miguel plants beans on a small plot of land. He sells some of the crop and also helps to feed his family with it. He is getting ready for the harvest and is requesting a loan of $300 to purchase better quality seeds and fertilizer for his field.

The loan will makes a significant difference to Miguel's success. The new seeds will help him generate a good harvest to take to market. Miguel's dream is to be able one day to buy his own house, and live with dignity with his family.

We are happy to help in some small way Bayardo and Miguel to achieve their goals for themselves and their families.