$276.14 - that's how much I spent on groceries for the month of January. I budgeted $280.00 so came in under budget by a tiny bit. I told someone today that I came in $25 under budget but since then found another charge of $20.88 that I missed on my Mastercard bill. Poo. But under is under in my books so bwhahaha! Oh, and speaking of poo this covers cat litter and dry food for Luna and Lily. If I buy it at the grocery store - even if it is stuff we don't eat - it comes our of the grocery budget. Laundry detergent, ibuprofen, toothpaste, shampoo...blah blah blah.
Part of how I keep my food budget low is to make everything from scratch and make BIG batches of things like soup & veggie chilli. (and that way I don't have to cook something new every single night...bwhahahaha!) Whatever we don't eat goes in the freezer. Being a "soup anti-nazi" I PUSH soup on people, especially my daughter. The soups I make are meals in a dish and she much prefers something homemade for lunch instead of eating fast food. (Not to mention she saves money eating her ma's cooking!) She wan't always like that but now, thankfully, she really appreciates the healthy food that we eat. She's not big on meat (pork & beef), me either, so we eat poultry, fish, shellfish and veggie-type meals.
Yesterday I was hankering after some Greek Lentil Soup. Yeah, weird right? Usually I hanker after chocolate! Fortunately the ingredients I needed to make this soup were all in my pantry and/or fridge. There are a number of things I never let myself run out of- namely: diced tomatoes, veggie or chicken stock, lentils, many kinds of beans, split peas, soup mix, quinoa, fresh garlic, carrots, onions, potatoes and celery in addition to a wide wide variety of spices and hot sauces. So I had everything I needed on hand. Saves me a trip to the store where I would inevitably buy a few things (chocolate) NOT on my list :)
This soup is absolutely delicious! It's one of my favourite recipes not only due to its deliciousness but also because it is so quick to prepare - you can make and simmer this soup in 30-40 minutes max. and you don't need 20 different ingredients!
Unexpected guests? This is your go-to recipe! (I sound like an infomercial!)
Saute' your veggies and garlic...
Now that I have a handy dandy chopper I can dice my veggies in seconds :)
Throw in remaining ingredients including a bay leaf, a bit of basil and thyme.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. That's it!
I also always have a dollop of sour cream and/or plain yogurt on hand which really mixes well with the overall flavour.
a generous 1/2 cup lentils maybe 5 cents?
diced tomatoes 1/2 can = 50 cents
1 large carrot (or use baby carrots if you have some you need to get rid of) = 20 cents
1 or 2 stalks of celery (can be limp like mine was :) = 20 cents
1 yellow onion = 30 cents
2 cloves of garlic = 10 cents
spices = 30 cents
1 container of broth = 1.00
1 teaspoon of sour cream = 10 cents
Total = $2.75!!! /6 servings = $0.46 per serving!
Good night nurse!! (as my grandma used to say) I'm going to have seconds!