Beans, beans, and more beans!

Almost all of my most frugal meals include beans or lentils. They are filling, nutritious, and more importantly the toddler will happily eat them. After three days of veggie, bean laden, meals both boys demanded something with meat last night. So I made a big batch of chicken curry for them, with enough to freeze up for another day.

Frugal Bean MealI had some tofu left in the fridge so used the same curry sauce, but had a meat free option. I used the curry paste detailed below, and pretty much the same recipe just subbing the chicken/tofu in, I did also add some peppers that were starting to look sad at the back of the fridge.

When we lived back in Yorkshire there were lots of Asian Supermarkets in the area, and they were fantastic for stocking up on spices, lentils, beans, and basmati rice – far cheaper than any of the main supermarkets. It does mean buying in bulk, but they are all things that will last for years if stored properly in sealed jars in a dry cupboard or shaded shelf. Root vegetable curries are delicious and this is my favourite:

Carrot & Squash Curry

  • 4 large carrots – diced and par boiled
  • 1 medium butternut squash – diced
  • 1 large onion (red or white) – diced
  • 2-3 tbsp curry paste depending on tastes (I use this recipe from the BBC http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1191650/madras-curry-paste )
  • 400g soaked and cooked chickpeas, or a can of chickpeas drained
  • 200ml veg stock
  • 1 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • Olive Oil for browning

First off heat the oil in you pan, then add the onions, carrot, and squash, and brown. Once browned add the curry paste, pour over the stock and chopped tomatoes, and then simmer for 20 minutes, or until the veg is tender. Then add the chickpeas and cook for maybe 5 more minutes until they too are heated through.

I serve with Basmati rice and if I have the time some home made flat breads.

In fact I think a batch of this may need to be made at the weekend as we have a lot of carrots and two more squash in the fridge that need eating up.

Social Budget

I think the hardest part of the Fast will be the social budget. Gabe is with his childminder three days a week whilst I work, and she takes him on all sorts of lovely adventures, but there are still 4 days a week that we need to fill. Gabe isn’t a sit around the house and watch TV tot, he will get bored easily and we need to tire him out – in fact I think most toddlers are the same!

Yesterday was soft play with his little friends, so £2.50 of the £5.00 gone for that. On Friday we are meeting a friend and her little one for coffee and cake. Thankfully the garden centre we meet at sends out free tea/coffee vouchers so all I will need to find is £1.80 for little one’s favourite sweet potato brownie when we are there. This should mean we stay on budget this week.

I’m hoping even though we are in Autumn now, we still get some dry days, as there are so many free walks and adventures to be had near by – provided it isn’t totally tipping it down. Although muddy puddle splashing in the rain has to be one of his favourite outdoor activities, it is just mummy that is less keen…

Posted in Children, Financial Fast, Food, Home, Recipe Gallery
2 comments on “Beans, beans, and more beans!
  1. anarchatheiology says:

    That would probably slow cook in the crock pot nicely too, I need to stock up on beans and lentils, unfortunately I only have supermarkets close by so it will be an initial large expense. I use our slow cooker a lot and ave found it to be a very frugal piece of cookware. I have a tot that enjoys finding things to do in the house so social spending is minimal anyway. I’m enjoying this blog, thank you 🙂

    • Cara says:

      It cooks lovely in the slow cooker, in fact most of our meals do as I am a rather lazy cook whenever possible. Tesco has a reasonable ethnic food section that is cheaper than their own stock of beans and lentils, worth checking out and seeing what they have in. Chickpeas, red kidney beans, haricot beans, pinto beans, and red lentils, are my staples than can be adapted to almost all lentil and bean dishes. Sadly Gabe only copes with one or two days in the house before needing a good run off of steam outside or with others – far more social than me!

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