I sometimes feel our history with our finances mirror the story of an addict. You hit rock bottom, you sober up. You work really, really hard towards getting your act together. Sometimes there are set-backs. Other times, you fall completely off the wagon and are in full crises mode once again. But eventually…hopefully…there is recovery. Long lasting recovery.
Starting over at 42, having already gotten my two oldest children almost to the finish line, I don’t know what I thought it would be like. We never had the traditional get married, buy a house, have babies timeline. When I was a new mom at 25, I was still in college and working. We were broke and struggling. Though I would have loved to have showed up and helped out in my daughter’s class, and gone on field trips and finger-painted in the middle of the day, if Momma didn’t work she didn’t earn any money. She couldn’t ditch school either.
Gosh, when I was 16, forty was Old! Not just old…but Ooooooooooold. And here I am, not just forty, but on the upswing to fifty. At the time I am writing this, I will be celebrating my 47th birthday next week. It’s almost incomprehensible to me. And it makes me appreciate the cliché that, age is just a number. I get it now. Like, I really, REALLY get it. I would never go back to twenty. Or even thirty for that matter. Because, for me, life really started getting exciting at forty.
Not quite gumbo and not quite jumbalaya….but as tasty and best served over a heaping spoonful of white Basmati or Jasmine rice.
We made ours without sausage, but I can tell you from past experience, this is one occasion where I almost threw caution to the wind, and added the sausage anyway. BUT we didn’t – this was seafood only. Don’t get me wrong, it was still incredibly delicious – just a little twinge of longing for some really good sausage. Of all the meats – I miss pork most. (wink)
So, here we are at week four of our ALDI Meal Challenge, and honestly, what started as an experiment, has helped us develop a very good strategy for meal planning while saving both money and time each week. It also forced my daughter and I to sit down, take inventory of what we had and create a good variety of meal options around that. I would have been happy to simply see a savings in our grocery bill – but to also reduce waste, eat better, save time and ensure my whole family came together at the table every night, are benefits that compound in value exponentially.
The Vegan version of these shells are seriously OFF.THE.CHAIN delicious. I was surprised we had leftovers. We would not have if my daughter had not made two huge pans (pictured above). It’s when we have wonderful, filling and flavorful meals like these that I know we can live this (mostly) plant-based lifestyle for the rest of our lives.
This was a new recipe for our family recently. You know how those go. Sometimes putting foods together, in theory, sounds delicious…but the finished product tastes nothing like what you thought it would. This one, however, is not one of those. This one is a winner. Its hearty comfort food, stick to your ribs, make a pig of yourself, delicious. It is now on permanent rotation in our house. Easy to make, inexpensive and full of good stuff.