Monday, February 7, 2011

Are we frugal, poor, or just lazy?

One of the things I've found in trying not to buy anything, is that I don't really buy anything. I'm not really sure why this is. I've never been one of those people that hunts down bargains. (Talk to my brother in law, who once drove 30 miles to buy milk at $1.59 a gallon. In his defense he bought enough for everyone, and I mean everyone.) I don't clip coupons, mostly because they tend to be for name-brand extras that I don't use anyway.

We make a decent living. Yes, we're trying to put two kids through college with cash (one down, one to go), so that takes every dime of discretionary money, but the point is, we have discretionary money. If I buy an extra skirt, it's not going to put our tuition payments in arrears.

Which brings us to the most likely culprit-- it takes effort to spend money. Go to the store, go to the mall, stop off on the way home. Even entering all that initial info for "one click shopping" on line is often more effort than I'm willing to put in.

Which gives hope for everyone. If you're not naturally frugal, and you've got money to spend, you can still avoid the beast just by remembering that shopping is a pain in the ass.

The vegetable ingredients are all from my larder, frozen or canned last summer, but that's just me bragging. Feel free to buy these ingredients from your local CSA, neighborhood grocer, or even a chain or big box store.

Eggplant Chili

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, skinned and crumbled
1/2 cup eggplant puree
1 pint tomato sauce or loose paste
1-2 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup salsa verde
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup dry mixed beans or 2 cups soaked or canned
chili powder to taste (at least 2 tablespoons)
sea salt

If using dried beans, the instructions will say "soak overnight" but I've found this is not enough. Boil your beans for 30 minutes in 2-3 quarts of water with a little salt, add another 1-2 quarts of boiling water and soak in the hot water at least 2 hours. Drain and discard the water (or pour it onto the compost).

To make the eggplant puree, slice one medium eggplant, dredge heavily in olive oil, and saute until it starts to fall apart. Peel off the skin, add about 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce, and whisk briskly by hand, or in a blender or small food processor.

Saute the onions in about a quarter cup of water, until soft; when all the water is gone (and not a second later, or the onions will burn), add a tablespoon of olive oil, then crumble the meat onto it. Brown the meat (don't worry if you get "burnt" meat on the pot-- this is good, it will flavor the chili. Add the chili powder and simmer a few minutes until thoroughly mixed.

Once the meat is browned add all the sauces and simmer until the browned residue has been released into the sauce, then add more chili powder if needed. Mix thoroughly and add the beans. Simmer at least 30 minutes, being careful not to burn it by stirring frequently.

(post moved, in case you found the old link and it doesn't go anywhere)

1 comment:

  1. frugal, poor or just lazy. hmmmmm. I think I fit into frugal. I have no interest in malls or ads from stores (mall-type stores) for sales. I was in a mall last May only because I had a gift certificate to use and I couldn't tell you when I had been in a mall prior to that. Thrift stores get my business and craft stores - although I haven't been in either for about a month. I am just not a shopper.

    I have eggplant seedlings that are up and I just transplanted some of them up into larger pots. Sure hope they do well this year. Emily