Early this year, I committed to save more money and budget more wisely. By God’s grace, He has been faithful in helping me manage my resources and lessen my expenses. However, I know that I can still improve more, especially when it comes to buying food, drinks, and ingredients.
Many times, I enjoy experimenting with food so much that I end up buying more than what I need. Sometimes, it’s advantageous since I get to use the ingredients for our family’s meals. But, on the other hand, it’s also costly since some ingredients end up getting expired before I find the time to use them.
Two days ago, I decided to make pesto pasta with roasted tomatoes and bacon for lunch. I chose this dish because I knew that making it wouldn’t cost me a lot since we still had tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano leaves, and leftover, raw penne noodles at home. The only ingredient that I added and paid for that day was the raw bacon from the grocery store.
While my sister and I were eating the pasta, we realized how nice and cost-efficient it was to make a dish out of the ingredients already available at home. I also love how it was so convenient for us to get fresh basil leaves from the garden and make pesto out of it.
Making this dish encouraged me to be wiser in budgeting and spending money for food and drinks. Just like my past struggle with shopping (http://encouragingtreats.com/year-shopping/), I’d find myself splurging on numerous and delicious yet unnecessary treats (comfort food) and I’d try to find satisfaction in them. But, I am reminded that the way we spend our money shows what’s in our hearts. And because God deserves the best, I want to honor Him with my heart and with how I budget my money.
This won’t be easy for me, since I am fond of certain expensive ingredients like shrimps, strawberries, and imported snacks. But, by God’s grace, I know that I can be faithful in setting limits and lessening unnecessary expenses this year.
Here are some of the action steps I’m currently doing to help me with my commitment:
- Continue to plant and grow own ingredients at home. (e.g. herbs, vegetables, fruits)
- Bring homemade food and/or food at home to the office. (e.g. sandwiches, rice meals, fruits, crackers)
- Plan meals ahead.
- Check the ingredients we have at home every now and then and do my best to maximize them before buying additional items.
- Set a budget for daily meals. Since mom graciously prepares food for us and we have the privilege of bringing it to work, eating out is really an added and, sometimes, unnecessary expense for me. Thus, I am challenging myself to spend only Php50/day for my food and drinks this year. (Of course, I have a different budget for events/dinner out with family and friends, and for the ingredients that I’ll be using when I cook or bake.)
- Spend time with God and His Word. I know that God will continue to speak to me and guide me in my commitment as I spend quality time with Him.
Matthew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
How are our hearts lately?
2-3 garlic cloves (diced)
3-4 tbsp. of olive oil
1 cup of basil leaves
1 to 1 1/2 cups of raw penne noodles
salt & pepper
4 slices of bacon
Optional: parmesean cheese & chili flakes
1. Boil noodles until al dente (cooked enough to be firm but not soft).
2. Pesto Sauce: Blend basil leaves, garlic, pinch of salt, pinch of ground pepper, and olive oil together.
3. Slice the tomatoes and roast in pan. Add chopped basil and oregano leaves (or you can use McCormick’s Italian seasoning), pinches of chili flakes and salt, and a dash of ground pepper. Stir and press the tomatoes every now and then, until some of its juice evaporates.
4. Cook the bacon in a separate pan (without oil).
5. Mix the cooked noodles with the pesto sauce and top the dish with roasted tomatoes, cooked bacon, and cheese.
Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)