REAL, FRUGAL, HEALTHY, and FUN!!!
It has been a rough year. I’ve mentioned it a few times. We’ve been living every landlord’s worst nightmare. I’m talking a TV quality bad experience. We own a small townhome from our fist duty station. We’ve been renting out for several years because after we bought it, the housing market crashed, and it’s value is not caught up to what we paid for it yet. This year, we had a tenant who stopped paying rent in March. It took the property management company 2 months to go to the home and see what was going on. It turns out the tenant had become a hoarder. An extreme hoarder. It was impossible to walk through the house. An attorney was called and the tenant was served. She still wouldn’t leave. The case went to court, and the judge gave her until the end of the month (June) to vacate the property. At the end of June, she still hadn’t left. The sheriff’s department was called, and they came and removed her from the home. The home was still completely filled with her things. Our property management company was at a loss of how to legally remove her things from the property. We switched property management companies to one that had more experience with evictions. They cleared everything out, completed repairs and necessary maintenance to the property. A month later (September), they were able to get tenants in there for us. Unfortunately, with all that they had to do and how much it cost the property management company, we will only see our first partial rent payment in November. We’ve lost over $10,000 this year. I’m told we can claim most of it on our tax returns. In the meantime, we’ve been doing some serious penny pinching.
A babysit a little boy in our apartment complex 3 days a week. I get $55 for that. I’m trying to keep every penny in the bank that I can, so I was determined this last week to only use the $55 from babysitting for groceries. Now, I did it successfully, but there are some huge contributing factors as to how I was able to manage it. My husband is in the field for army training, so I have one less, huge mouth to feed. Also, my kids go to a title one school. Breakfast and lunch are provided everyday, at no charge to us for my older boys. My youngest is in pre-k. He goes half-days. He eats lunch at school, free of charge. So, I just have to feed him breakfast. So basically, I needed groceries for myself, for Sam for breakfast, everyone for dinner, and for all of us on the weekends.
I try to enjoy the challenge of stretching every dollar. I’m actually pretty darn good at it. I can make quite a few things out of what might look like nothing to someone else. I try to make it a game so that when I’m successful, I feel like a winner. Still, it has it’s moments. There are a few things I had to cross off my grocery list, which made me a little sad. My boys are super sweet. They understand the situation, and don’t ask for much. Instead, they have really enjoyed creating things with what we do have. Sam’s made cookies twice this week! He’s my 4 year-old, so I should say, Sam and I made cookies twice this week. Ben has taken a huge interest in seasonings. He sits on the counter and sniffs all of the seasonings as he decides which ones are most appropriate for a dish. In fact, it’s his seasonings that make the cauli soup I’m going to share with you so good. I’m lucky to have such great boys!
Dinners consisted of a chicken pot pie that wasn’t amazing, but it was decent. We have plans to make it better next week. In the meantime, the one we made this week was fine, and it filled our bellies a few nights. We made AB&B’s a couple nights. You’ve never heard of an AB&B? It’s an almond butter & banana sandwich. I’ve mastered the art of making a mug bread in the microwave. It came in handy on the nights we had a lot of errands through dinner time.
Anyway, my mom called a lot of the dishes that were passed down to her, that my grandma used to eat during the depression, poor man’s this or that. For example rice or bread with milk and sugar was poor man’s dessert. Because this soup fits the parameters of being a poor man’s dinner, being that it is so inexpensive to make, and yet hearty and filling, I chose to call it Poor Man’s Tasty Paleo Cauli Puree Soup.
4 cups water
2 cups full-fat coconut milk
4 chicken thigh bones (or other bones)
1 cup celery, chopped
3/4 cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
3 cups cauliflower, chopped
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cupmin
1/ tsp mustard
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp tarragon
Directions: Place all ingredients in crock pot and turn to high. After 2-1/2 hours, remove bones, and puree everything else in the blender until smooth. Return pureed soup to crock pot, and turn to low for an additional hour before serving. You can keep it on longer if you wish. Enjoy! My boys loved it. It was a nice, easy, tasty dinner.