Here’s my sob story. One year ago, just a few weeks after having our third child, my husband was laid off. Previously to this, my work cut my hours in half. Now with a family of five we were a little strapped for money. Now let me just say right now that this story doesn’t have a sad ending.
My husband James was able to spend more of the summer with us, something he usually didn’t get to do. He helped me adjust to three little ones. He worked hard at trying to find a job, but as you may very well know, it hasn’t been the best job market. So we went into business for ourselves. He now works from home doing this (click here), and does an awesome job providing for us if I do say so myself.
James and I survived and then some. It was hard, but when things are tough you grow. And we did, thankfully closer not wider.
So, why am I telling you my sob story that really isn’t one? Frugality that’s why. It’s not about being cheap as it is being wise with your money.
I started food co-oping a few years ago. I use a couple, Bountiful Baskets and The Community Food Co-op of Utah. Not only have I learned to love them because they save me money, but for the adventures in trying new foods. I also enjoy the opportunity to be involved in my community. I believe in the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I also believe this statement applies to adults too. We should all care for each other’s basic needs, and isn’t one of those needs healthy and wholesome food?
I like co-oping so much, I even send my son to an awesome charter school, The Open Classroom, where each child has a parent that co-ops in the classroom three hours every week. It’s a happy and involved learning environment, and by the way, they serve wholesome lunches made on site everyday. Kudos to them.
Back to frugality, the other day I was at the thrift store (yes, I do those too) and I was rummaging through the books when I came across The Frugal Foodie Cookbook by Alanna Kaufman and Alex Small, also authors of the blog: Two Fat Als. Where has this book been all my life?! I snatched it up for only $1. As I was going through the recipes, I kept finding recipe after recipe for ingredients I often find in my food co-op shares. One of the first to catch my eye was Balsamic Grilled Artichokes. I had three very large artichokes waiting for a delicious transformation right at home.
The recipe was delicious just like it said, and it is my new favorite way to eat an artichoke. The Aioli to dip them in was amazing and absolutely spicy! Man was it spicy, even for James who loves everything hotter than hell. Next time I will cut the cayenne in half at least.
Balsamic Grilled Artichokes
6 artichokes (I used 3 large artichokes)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons Italian Seasonings (or a mixture of dried oregano and fennel seeds)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons cayenne (I’d half this next time)
1 clove garlic, crushed
Wash artichokes and clip off sharp tips of leaves with scissors. Boil in large pot of water, covered, 20-25 minutes, until leaves are soft enough to pluck easily. Remove from water and let cool. Whisk together oil, vinegar, seasonings, sugar, salt and pepper. Once artichokes are cool, cut in half and divide between 2 large zip lock bags. Divide vinaigrette between bags; marinate at least 1 hour. Preheat grill to high; cook artichokes (reserve marinade) 3-5 minutes on each side, until slightly crispy. Pour extra marinade into bowl; combine with mayonnaise, cayenne, and garlic. Taste and adjust seasonings.