Do I need this? No, seriously. Do I really need this?
Every year, I make a new resolution. I know some people aren’t into this sort of thing. It never really happens, they say. You’re only setting yourself up for failure. I kind of, sort of, partially agree. But at the same time, I love the idea of setting new goals. The idea that something wonderful—life changing, even!—has the potential to be achieved.
And that is why, when 2009 rolled into 2010, I made the pact with myself that I would always ask myself one question before purchasing anything. Do I need this?
All in all, I try to be careful with where the money goes. For example, I will never—never, never, never—throw food away unless it’s moldy, smelly, or past the point of safety. Today I made the discovery that freezing overripe bananas can come in super handy…
Did you know that a frozen banana works just as well as a fresh banana in a morning bowl of oats?
I think I was a little over excited about this idea, as I marveled over the way my oats came out fluffy, sweet, perfect. It tasted a little like banana bread in a bowl. Not bad for an almost over ripe banana that might have otherwise been thrown away.
Score one for my New Years Resolution!
- 1/4 c. each of oatbran and wheat bran
- 1 very ripe banana, frozen
- 1 c. milk + 3/4 c. water
- toppings: Galaxy Granola, chia seeds and peanut butter
- Place the water and milk in a saucepan with the frozen banana and bring to a boil. Add oatbran and place timer for 4-6 minutes.
- Halfway through cooking, when oatbran begins to thicken, add wheat bran and stir, stir, stir. Mash up that banana a little with the back of your spoon.
- When cooked to perfection—however you most prefer—pour into bowl and add your favorite toppings!!!
I also like to make heaping salads full of leftovers. You know, things like the last remains of a salsa jar. The last carrot and mushroom. A few garbanzos. A couple Wasa’s, way back in the closet. Things like that.
It makes me feel economical. Money-wise. On track with my New Year’s Resolution.
And then there are those times when I’m walking through Whole Foods or Trader Joes, with a growling stomach and a slowly deminishing resolve to stay on budget. Each isle asking me that one haunting question:
Do you need this? No, seriously. Do you need this?
I firmly stood my ground until walking past the nut butters. When asked that one question, I said YES! to the almond butter.
And a YES! to the medjool dates.
I honestly don’t know how these two items snuck into the cart, but they seemed necessary at the time. Like water on a deserted island, you know?
Okay, so my effort to stay on budget could use a little tweaking. I didn’t really need the almond butter and I certainly didn’t need the dates (gasp). But I came to the conclusion that being money-wise is a little like a smart, healthy diet.
Balance. A little give and take. Learning to say no to some things, yes to others, and knowing that it’s okay to include your favorite things now and then.
And some dinners are just so darn cheap that they completely make up for it. Black bean burgers, for example!
I followed my basic recipe, except I used 3 T. of worcestershire sauce instead of just the one. It was delicious, and I didn’t need to buy a thing for it from the grocery store. Cheap, cheap, cheap!
And deliciously nutritious. Obviously, that is just as important.
On the side, there were sliced veggies from the garden, some sweet potato fries, onions and lots of ketchup.
I highly recommend this recipe, whether you’re attempting to find more affordable meals, tasty vegetarian options, quick lunches-to-go for salads/sandwiches, easy dinners for busy nights, or even if you’re just looking to include more beans into your diet. Whichever the case, this recipe is one of my personal favorites.
Question: What are some foods that you like to splurge on? What are some of your favorite, most afforadable meal & snacks? I love splurging on good nut butters and yogurts. Other than that, I like to cook vegetarian meals in between meat meals in order to keep costs lower while also including many of the health benefits.