If you’re lactose-intolerant like I am, here’s a simple quickie (and vegan!) corn chowder recipe I made up that’s short on prep time and long on flavor! Feel free to add whatever else you like to make it your own. I kept it very basic.
- 1 quart Imagine Organic Creamy Potato Leek Soup
- 8 oz. frozen organic corn (I used half of a 16-oz. package)
- 2-3 small red potatoes, cubed into small (1/2″ or so) pieces
- a sprinkle of dried thyme
- OPTIONAL: dash of cayenne pepper — if you like a little “kick”
Pour the Potato Leek Soup into a large saucepan, then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer approx. 20-30 min., stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender. Makes approx. 4 servings.
Since I began my downshifting journey, I’ve read hundreds of books and articles on saving money and living below one’s means. Most of them recommend preparing meals at home and eliminating restaurant meals as a way to cut costs. I won’t deny that dining in is a great way to save. It’s a no-brainer, really, but…
I truly enjoy going out to eat. As the only person in my house who cooks, sometimes I just get sick of cooking. Seriously sick of it. For me, trying different foods and new restaurants is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So what’s a frugal downshifter to do?
Fortunately, I’ve discovered a few simple ways to save in this area, so if dining out is important to you too, read on. We really can have our cake and eat it too!
- I don’t do “DINNER.” Perhaps due to my early morning work schedule, I’m not a big night eater. I like to get most of my eating out of the way earlier in the day, when I’m working, moving around, and burning calories. (Also recommended for good digestion and weight loss too!) I love to go out for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and/or happy hour, then just have a light snack at home in the evening.
- I try to keep it light. Kind of related to # 1 above. When I go out, I usually opt for lighter fare: soups, salads, sandwiches, appetizers. Or if I get a bigger meal, I take half (or more) of it home and get another meal or two out of it. (Also another good diet tip!)
- I don’t eat a lot of meat. I’m not a vegetarian, but keeping my meals light and simple often means not eating much meat. Even when I cook at home, I often use half the meat and twice the veggies that most recipes call for. It’s cheaper, and again, healthier!
- I take advantage of specials whenever I can. Weekdays are an especially good time to take advantage of happy hour deals, half-price appetizers, buy-one-get-one-free offers, coupons, etc.
- I enjoy a drink. One. Sometimes two. Not three or four. Booze is expensive — and loaded with useless calories! Have a drink, then switch to water. Your wallet and waistline will thank you.
- I pay with cash most of the time. I hate credit card bills even more than I hate cooking. Dining on plastic just doesn’t make sense to me.
- I tip well, especially at places where I’m a regular customer. When you take good care of your waitstaff and bartenders, they’ll take good care of you, sometimes with free drinks, “samples,” etc. They work hard for their money. Don’t skimp on the gratuity.
While saving money is an important component of downshifting, mindful spending is key to living life according to your priorities. For me, this means never passing up an opportunity to share a drink and a good meal with a loved one. After all, isn’t that what life’s all about?
Friday Favorites: Amy’s Kitchen!
I get up before 4 a.m. and start work at 5 every day. I always bring my breakfast to work with me, and try to keep it simple, quick, and healthy.
Amy’s Organic Tofu Scramble is my once-a-week breakfast treat, and is a much healthier (and tastier) alternative to the morning drive-thru trap. Even my carnivorous coworkers are enticed by the smell coming from the microwave in the break room.
Healthy convenience food isn’t an oxymoron. All of Amy’s products — from burritos, burgers and bowls to pizzas, pockets, and pot pies — are vegetarian, organic and non-GMO; many are vegan and gluten-free. Amy’s ingredients are clearly labelled. Don’t you just love knowing what’s in the food you’re eating? I do!
And if, like me, you also appreciate knowing where your food comes from, you can even learn about the farm that supplies the beans for Amy’s chilies, bowls, burritos and enchiladas: Spud Brown Farms.