I've mentioned before that I'm frugal. I'm frugal with my time and my money. I work hard all day (who doesn't?!) and when I come home I shift gears into ministry and writing mode. It's my second shift. As I get older I notice my tiredness creeps in earlier and my attention flags sooner. I need to budget my time in order to capture my best.
I buy the reduced fruits and veggies at Kroger whenever I see the red sticker. The food is perfectly fine, it just needs to be eaten sooner rather than later. This week there were two eggplants for 99 cents, a bag of red potatoes for 99 cents, 4 beefsteak tomatoes for 99 cents, and purple cauliflower for 99 cents. A friend gave me some hot red and green peppers from her garden. Another friend had given me 10 lb of lentils two weeks ago. A third friend gave me a tray of fresh eggs from her farm. OK, what to do?
I decided to make lentil soup and include some of the potatoes in it. I decided to roast the potatoes, since whatever I do with them after, they will have built-in flavor already. Oops, they all would not fit in the pan, so I boiled a few to have on the side. I had bouillon, onion, and carrots already. So, soup.
The eggplants...two is a lot. I decided to make baked eggplant and use them for sandwiches with the tomatoes. I had plenty of eggs to drench the rounds in, and bread crumbs. One thing I like about frugal cooking is using only a few ingredients for each dish, and keeping my options open for the item later. I could use baked eggplant rounds as a snack, sandwiches, salads, or toss into spaghetti. But I really like eggplant and tomato sandwiches so that was my main goal.
As I cut and peeled the two eggplants there turned out to be a lot of rounds, or half circles as some of the rounds were big. I ran out of scrambled egg to drench the last few rounds in and I did not want to use up a third egg, so I decided to simply saute the last few bits and use them in pasta.
I would roast the cauliflower. That will be a side dish to my lunches. I'd roast the peppers too, and added half the onion I didn't use in the soup. I like scrambled eggs N peppers so that would work.
I began at 6:45, a few minutes after I got up. One way for me to budget my time is to launch right in. If I sit down, I start reading, or answering emails, or just start vacantly viewing cat videos or Big Bang Theory clips, lol. So I put on Expositor.FM, a 24 hour sermon radio stream and listened to Donald Grey Barnhouse, James Montgomery Boice, Steven J. Lawson, and Martyn Lloyd Jones. Cooking took two hours, with an occasional pause to write a note of an especially good nugget from one of the preachers.
Something I'm never good at is proportions. I always mess that up. I used too many lentils for the soup, it was way lentil-y and the potatoes, onions and carrots were lost. So I took some time to remove several ladles-full of lentils and put them in a separate container. I'll likely use these outliers for a salad later in the week. Good thing I love lentils!
The friend who gave me the peppers from her garden also gave me hard pears (these are pears from trees that always stay hard, and must be cooked), and a big bag of turkey figs. On Monday I'll cook the pears, probably using this recipe, http://southernforager.blogspot.com/2013/08/what-to-do-with-hard-pears.html, which requires some work to be done to them tonight as they soak in the fridge for 24 hours.
I had a few grapes left and I transferred them from the large container I'd put them in at the beginning of the week to a smaller one so I could use the larger for the cauliflower. My friend Susan had given me a set of Rubbermaid containers for Christmas last year and it was a great gift.
Here are the photos of the end result:
It looks like a lot but it's not. These containers, plus the figs and pears in the fridge, represent lunches and dinners and snacks for the week, until next Saturday. (I grocery shop on Sunday after church). So there are ten meals, plus snacks, plus some to share with friends. I might make hummus later in the week, if I need to.
It took two hours, and now I'm done for the week!
I use Saturdays to prepare the scripture pictures I post on my blog and Facebook Page all week. I make 6 of them. I also write 5-6 blog essays to be ready to publish each morning before I head to work. I study the Bible and I listen to sermons all throughout the day. I also began a free study of the Book of John, through Dallas Theological Seminary, and I completed Unit 1 on Saturday.
All of Saturday is spent this way, every week. In October I have plans to go out to the pumpkin and sunflower patch on a Saturday but other than that one social engagement, I just spend Saturdays and Sundays at home, quietly, recovering from the week. I need it. I find that as I get older, managing myself in public as an autistic person is also getting harder and harder. Recovery is taking longer.
After I finish cooking, the rest of Sunday morning I listen to instrumental hymns and read the Bible. I might nap. At 2:30 I dress and get ready for church. Our church has service at 3:30. We are a new church plant and are renting a place that has time limits, so that is the time. I love the 3:30 time! I leave at 3:00 and enjoy a stellar church service until 5:00. I stop at Kroger for quick grocery shopping on the way home and I arrive back by 6:00. I spend the evening reading and preparing mentally and emotionally for the week ahead at school. Sundays are quite relaxing this way. I feel my time is used well for the Lord and by Monday I've rested and been refreshed.
During the week, when I get home I answer emails for the ministry, from women who have messaged me with questions or prayer requests. I write, getting my next book ready. I do my daily Bible reading. There isn't a whole lot of time after school. I get home and settled between 4:00 and 4:30 and I go to bed at 9:00 or so. I like to watch TV or movies, so I might tune in at the end of the day to wind down and relax.
I like The Great British Bake Off and Australia's The Block, competitive cooking and renovation shows, respectively. I also like Longmire, a modern cowboy/sheriff show, and Canada's Private Eyes, a lighthearted detective show. All of these will begin their new season in late August or early September, so there will be good TV to watch. I found Heartland, a gentle show about a family and horses, from Canada. There is less and less to watch these days, that my conscience can handle. But I'm grateful for these good shows. I do like to end the day with some tube.
I do it this way every day. Routine is king at Casa Prata. I do not vary. This way not only do I enjoy the comfort of my routine, and it IS a comfort, but I know I am using the time well. I don't like to waste it. Even at that, I am well short of maximizing my time for the Lord when I see what Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Charles Spurgeon did every day, 18 hours a day, 7 days a week.
But I try. I try. Have a good week ahead everyone, and remember to shepherd your resources, use the time well, and enjoy the bounty all around you. :)