Eat all the black beans

It all comes back to the little things, doesn’t it? I have been feeling a little off my budget lately, spending more than I should without much of a return on investment.

So it’s back to basics. Food and money are so tied for me. It is the first place I look for room to trim in my budget, probably because it is easier than transportation, more variable than rent or bills. I know that if worse came to worst, I have a big bag of rice tucked away, a security blanket of sorts.

I’d like to get back to spending levels from my “summer sequester” a few years back, the summer after I left the law office and was working as a camp counselor for Girl Scouts. In spite of the fact that I was earning next to nothing with no work guaranteed past the first week in August, it was a glorious summer. I spent absurdly little (in June of that summer, I spent less than $800, which to be fair, did not include rent) and lived well. I’d like to be as happy as I was that summer, and if I can’t be as happy as I was then, at least I’d like to be as frugal.

This week, I’ve only planned dinner meals. I eat leftovers for lunch, and oatmeal with raisins for breakfast, so dinner is all I ahve to worry about. For dinner tonight (and lunch tomorrow), I dug out the ends of three bags of beans and dumped them in the crockpot for chili.Scott will make chili and it will be a good meal for this grey-southern-California day.  The beans do not look delicious right now–the black beans have turned the chickpeas and the great northern beans a nauseating shade of grey, but I trust that when they are covered in tomatoes and chili powder, all will be well. At least, I hope so, because the beans have expanded enough, that I suspect I may not get to all of the meals listed below.

For Monday, I’ll make potatoes with kale from smitten kitchen. Potatoes are cheap, and the kale filling makes this meal feel decadent.

Tuesday is dragon noodles from Budget Bytes because it is light on ingredients, and I need to use up the cilantro. I’m subbing fettucine for lo mein noodles because I can never follow directions perfectly.

Wednesday is black bean salad, again to use up the cilantro. I’ll have to buy avocado still here because I hate buying it early. I will probably need to restock on black beans here as well. It’s too bad they don’t come in bags as large as my rice does. This is probably the meal I will skip if my chili is still around. They are too similar.

Thursday is potato fries and black bean burgers. I’m heavy on black beans this week because they are a cheap, delicious source of protein, and they can be repeated ad nauseum in infinite varieties.

Friday is an open day. Scott and I regularly end up going out to eat, so that might happen. Otherwise, I’m thinking pizza or burritos (with black beans of course).

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