Friday, July 26, 2013

Feeding my family a Mexican Fiesta for $5.41 (including the grass-fed beef!)

The hubby called me this afternoon and asked if I wanted to go eat Mexican tonight for dinner.  I wasn't too keen on the idea for two reasons.  First, we have a toddler and an eight month old.  Do I really need to explain further?  Eating out is not enjoyable for me during this stage in our life because it is just so much work to make sure our three year old stays at the table (at the table, not above or below or anywhere else) and eats and that our eight month old is happy, simultaneously.  That's too much work.  Second, I'm kind of a food snob.  I really prefer to know the ingredients and what type of food is used in meals that myself and my family are eating and I know that restaurants typically use the cheapest ingredients possible.
So, instead of eating out, I went down to our freezer and pulled out a pound of sirloin steak and let it thaw.  I ended making beef fajitas, tomato rice and homemade guacamole.  And get this, the entire meal, that fed all three of us and included left overs, cost a sweet $5.41.  That includes the grass-fed sirloin steak, which when typically bought, isn't cheap.  Here's the breakdown -
Pound of grass-fed beef - $2.50
Onion (I used an entire onion between the fajitas and rice) - 12 cents
Red, green and yellow pepper - 99 cents
Tortillas - (we used 5 out of a pack of 20) - 25 cents
Some oil and spices that are kept on hand in my pantry.
Tomato Rice (my own recipe and very yummy):
Tomatoes - free from the garden
Rice - The amount I used probably added up to about 17 cents of the total bag
Garlic - 20 cents
Spices - just stuff that I always keep in my pantry
Avocado - $1.18 (this is way more than I would usually spend on an avocado, but I really wanted guacamole)
Other ingredients used are just staples in my pantry
Add that up and you get $5.41!  The local Mexican restaurants aren't too expensive, but you can't feed a family of three and have leftovers on that price.  The added bonus is that we buy an entire cow each year with money we purposely have taken out of Matt's check each month, so the price of the sirloin steak wasn't even out of our monthly budget.  When you take that into consideration, this meal cost us a cool $2.91!  PLUS we got to eat it in our own home, without worrying about the kiddos AND got to end the meal with a family dance party in the kitchen listening to Sanctus Real!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Little things that make it possible for me to stay home with our girls!

I've had several people ask how we make it work so I can stay home with our girls on my husband's modest income.  While we live without many extras that appear to be necessities in our culture (satellite TV, smart phones, eating out frequently, etc.) and feel very blessed to not have attachments to those things, there are many little ways that we are able to save money.  Hence the picture of 12 lbs. of onions!
Right now, onions are 49 cents for a 2 lb. bag at Aldi, so mama stocked up!  I spent $3 on 12 lbs. of onions and spent a portion of my day slicing each onion and spreading them out on baking sheets to flash freeze and then dropping them into freezer bags for our freezer.  Not only is this a great price (hello, less than 25 cents a lb.!) but it's so nice to have them easily available each night while cooking.  And seriously, I use onions, so this not only saves money, it saves me time! 
I figured I saved about $5 on this sale.  Sure, not a huge amount of money, but it's the little savings like these that add up over a month that make it possible for us to follow God's calling for our family!

Note:  I'm probably never going to have an onion cutting fest all in one sitting again.  My face was seriously horrific (imagine snot running out of my eyes, nose and ears), I was sweating like I'd ran a marathon and I began having flu-like symptoms.  There was nothing fun about it.  Next time, I'll wait for the hubby to be home so we can spread the process out!