Monday, January 5, 2009

Motivational Monday...

Happy Monday, everyone!

Today is the first day of the week and the first big test for me and anyone else who is trying to do a 'NSM'. I haven't had to leave my home since Dec.30th, which means I've not been tempted by any stores or fastfood joints. My plan when I leave to pick my daughter up from school today is to go straight there and straight back home. Usually I would pick her up and then run into the store. That is not going to happen today.

I have my menu made for the entire month, which you can see one the right of the posts. That menu was created to use only the ingredients I have on hand. I went into my freezer and pantry to take inventory of everything to make meals with. Now, I am still learning myself how to 'not spend' so I anticipate I may need to buy something for our meals, eventually. I really don't think I was able to account for everything but I sure hope I did! If I do have to buy something, I have a money can that we have been throwing our loose change into. It always amazes me how quickly quarters, dimes and nickles can add up. I have about $23.00 in the can right now. I figure if anything comes up, I will use that loose change. Produce is one of those things that just doesn't keep that long. I may eventually buy some later in the month. I am trying to do without which will be hard. I have dehydrated onion that I can cook with and canned fruits for my kids. I think we will be okay.

Every Monday I plan to have a motivational posting. In this post I will also post a couple of our favorite, economical recipes. Just so you know, we love food. Good food. So give these recipes a try...they are all yummy!

Now for the recipes... Everyone I know loves pizza. I know there are some who don't and frankly I can't imagine not liking pizza but to each his own. Up until a month or so ago we always bought our pizza. Not anymore. Making homemade pizza is a lot easier than I thought. I make a double patch of the below pizza dough recipe and one batch of the sauce (stores nicely in the fridge) and it will last us two whole meals of 4 medium pizzas. It is very economical and it tastes GREAT! Enjoy...

Pizza Crust

1 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine the above three ingredients and let stand for 10 min.

Then, stir in
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup EVOO
2.5 cups flour.

Knead well enough to combine and dough is smooth. Over kneading will make the crust more like a cracker. Let rest, rub a bit of EVOO on the ball, place in a bowl and cover for about 15 min. Shape into your desired size or into baking sheet. I leave the crust a bit thick because we like a thicker crust. We double this recipe and get 4 medium sized pizzas. Add your toppings…

Then bake the pizza at 425* for about 20 min.
Pizza Sauce (Cat Cora/Food Network)

1 (4-ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves (I use 1 teas. dried)
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves (I use 1 teas. dried)
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I omit this)
1/4 teas of red pepper flakes (this is my addition)
Mix together the tomato paste, water, and olive oil. Mix well. Add garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Mix well and let stand several hours to let flavors blend. No cooking necessary, just spread on dough.

Have a great Monday! Make a menu for the week and stick to it. Don't eat out for the 2nd, 3rd or 4th time this week. Save that money and put it towards a bill. Just reducing the amount you eat-out each week will help tremendously! Take the first step in becoming debt-free today. I will follow-up on Friday...

You CAN do it!