It’s Frugal Friday! Every so often, I’m going to bring you recipes that are meant to be budget friendly, because hey, aren’t we all looking for ways to save money at the grocery store? So today, along with my list of five things I will NOT apologize for, I’m going to share a time and budget friendly recipe for Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice. Note-I may receive a small compensation from advertisers or affiliate links seen in this post. I am not associated with specific stores or restaurants mentioned in this post. For further information you may read my terms and disclosure page.
Food For Thought There seems to be a difference of opinion everywhere, but that should be obvious with so many different types of people with their own unique personalities and backgrounds coexisting in this world. But we are quick to want people to think like us…I’m guilty too. Sometimes when people don’t share the same opinions or points of view, we try to make them feel guilty, as though they should apologize for their thinking and reasoning. I do believe we need laws, rules, and a general moral code in order to coexist and still feel safe and secure, which, by the way, is a basic human need. However, there are some things we shouldn’t need to apologize for, even in this modern world where everyone is so easily offended. So today, I have a list of the Five Things I Will NOT Apologize For, because I have the right to live my life as I see best according to God’s plans an purpose.
5 Things I Will Not Apologize For
- I will not apologize for putting my family first (after God). This was something my previous employers really had a hard time with, and I suspect many other working mothers out there deal with this same issue. Aside from my Heavenly Creator, the Bible commands me to put my husband above all else here on earth, and then my child, followed by others. I think we have a hard time following this command these days. Most households have two working parents, and employers and bosses expect you to put the needs of their company or business above your own personal life, which includes family in their opinion. I missed out on so many of my child’s early school experiences-mommy breakfasts, field trips, class parties, even meet your teacher! No, she won’t be scarred for life, and no, she was not the only one without a parent involved, but it made me so sad to miss these important events in her life. I really knew I had a problem with my employer when I was docked pay for taking my child to the doctor. When my daughter was six, she broke her arm just below the shoulder. This required her missing school and required lots of trips to the orthopedist and physical therapist. The timing was terrible, according to my school district. It was during the last few weeks of school, and even though I had PDOs left, this was not considered an emergency and would not be approved. I was not happy, so I sent an email to human resources, stating that my child would always come before the school district, and working for children, they, of all people, should understand this. I guess that was the beginning of my down hill slide working for them! But this idea of putting my family first had a lot to do with me resigning from teaching. I could not be the best wife or mother possible, when my job was demanding so much of me, physically and mentally.
- I will not apologize for living below my means. People that live in our area, or region, have a love affair with BIGGER and BETTER. Houses keep getting bigger, and selling, while average homes sit empty. There’s luxury cars in every other drive way. High-end clothing and accessory stores and boutiques are in high demand for retail areas. Parents are willing to pay hefty price tags for their children to have over-the-top destination birthday parties, and I’m not talking Chuck-E-Cheese here! And if your home doesn’t fit the “right” image, good luck getting people to come to your house to attend any events. My husband was very good at thinking practically when we were married. He examined our budget very closely and he knew what type of mortgage and insurance payments we could afford. He gave a maximum price to our realtor, and was very clear about not showing us anything over that amount. Don’t get me wrong, our house is nice, but in our area people would say it’s so “average.” We don’t live in an upscale neighborhood with a pool or clubhouse and the house itself is almost 30 years old. We also have managed to never have more than one car payment at a time during our marriage. My car is almost 12 years old now, but it still runs and does what it needs to do, and I will survive without a new car in the next few years. I just know that I am so thankful that my husband and I have worked to live below our means, because there have been times, if we had not, we could have run into some serious trouble. It also makes going down to just his income a lot less painful for the family, when we are used to watching our spending anyway.
- I will not apologize for dressing with modesty. I always joke that no one wants to see me in skimpy clothes, anyway, but really, I have no shame in keeping my body covered appropriately. Most of my life I have dressed with comfort in mind. And I am just not comfortable, physically, in short skirts or dresses or tight jeans or pants. A low cut top always has me pulling at the neckline, trying to urge it up higher than it was meant to be. And even when I lost a lot of weight and was running regularly, the thought of going out in public, even to run, just in my sports bra was insanity! I was raised this way, and then attended a Christian university with a fairly strict dress code, so it’s just more natural for me to dress with modesty. But when my husband and I were dating, he said something that made me see modesty differently, but still in a valuable way. He stated that by me keeping “mostly covered,” he had the privilege of imagining what the whole package would look like, and when the time was right it would be like getting to unwrap a present. Wow, a single guy, in love with his girlfriend, and he respects and admires her modesty even though he has desires for her. It would be nice if more girls believed that guys think like this. No need to “advertise the goods.”
- I will not apologize for sweating. This is not the same as saying sweat smells good or looks attractive. What I am saying, though, is that when I’m sweating, it’s because I’m doing something…something good for my body, mind and soul. Some of us happen to be more genetically predisposed to perspiration than others, and I guess that would be me. So, if I’m hiking a five mile trail in the mountains, I sweat. If I’m running a 5K in the fall, I sweat. If I’m mowing the yard, I sweat. Sometimes I sweat just vacuuming my house! The point is, the only way I’m not going to sweat, is by sitting still, and that’s no way to live my life. I want to be out and active and enjoying as much as I can by being part of it all, even if that means a little perspiration. And an extra shower!
- I will not apologize for making my faith known. This one probably should have been first, but let’s say I saved the best for last! As I mentioned earlier, I went to a Christian university and the region I lived in at the time is saturated with people with same or similar beliefs to my own. It was very easy to wear God on your sleeve. Then I took my first job in an urban area 9-ish hours north. It was very different living in an area where my faith and beliefs were not the norm. It was even more difficult becoming part of the professional world where I was told I was not supposed to share my faith or beliefs, or even discuss God or Jesus. In my 18 year career, I had to keep (mostly) silent about my faith as I witnessed poor choices, sad circumstances, and infuriating claims. Again, a small piece of the puzzle leading to a decision to leave my career and do something very different. I had reached a point where I was done keeping my faith, not so much a secret, but more like the fine china, only brought out for certain occasions. I want to embrace my belief in God, His miracles, the power of prayer, and His saving grace. Amen!
Today’s Scriptures I feel there is a fine line between not apologizing for my choices because it’s what I want and what God wants for me. In recent years, I have spent more time in scripture, in the effort to decipher and discern which category my choices fall into. I have listed below some verses for each of the five items on my list, hoping that I have interpreted His word correctly. I encourage you to find these scriptures and apply them to your life, as you see fit.
Putting Family First-Proverbs 31:28
- Living Below My Means-1 Timothy 6:17-19
- Dressing with Modesty-1 Timothy 2:9
- Sweating-2 Thessalonians 3:6-8
- Making My Faith Known-2 Timothy 1:7-8
Today’s Recipe My number 2 on the list is “Living Below My Means.” This means being frugal. Sometimes I’m even cheap, but living with frugality is not always synonymous with cheap. There are times my family spends a little more for a little better quality or a nicer version of something, and we don’t feel guilty about that either. Being frugal is knowing when and where to save money, when is the right time and place to splurge, and how does a purchase fit into the overall budget. When I worked on our family’s budget to prepare leaving my career and cutting a third from our income, I was astonished at how much we spend on food each month. We were spending more each month on groceries, dining out, and convenience store stops than our mortgage. Yikes! When cutting budgets, some things don’t budge (ha ha), like mortgage and car payments. But one area I knew we were going to need to improve greatly was the food expenses. One of my first moves, was to do the bulk of our grocery shopping at Aldi. I also downloaded a ton of coupon and savings apps to my phone. And, I began stockpiling some budget friendly recipes. Without further ado, I present to you: Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice-a saver of time and money!
Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice (makes about 12 servings)
- 1 lb. dry red kidney beans (light red are cheaper than dark red) *Note-for cooking in slow cooker, to my knowledge, there is no reason to pre-soak beans.
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced bell pepper
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 TBS minced garlic
- 2 lbs. Andouille sausage (to save more money and fat, you can cut this amount to 1 or 1 1/2 lbs.)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried thyme, oregano, basil, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp hot sauce (more or less, to taste-depending on what your family likes)
- 8 cups water (you can use less water if you use less meat, just make sure it’s enough to submerge the beans)
- 1 box instant white rice (another time saver!)
- Additional hot sauce and sliced green onions for serving
- Rinse beans in colander under cold running water, picking out any stones or suspicious looking beans. In slow cooker, place all ingredients, except for rice. Give a stir and set on low heat for 10 hours or high heat for 6 hours. Before serving, prepare rice according to box directions. Serve by placing a 1/2 cup of rice in bottom of bowl and add ladle of red beans and rice. Garnish with green onions and additional hot sauce, if desired.
- This dish also makes for great tailgating or a soup supper crowd pleaser. It is easy to transport in the slow cooker.
Today’s Products I am of the personal opinion that you can not have too many slow cookers, especially if you entertain large groups or transport food frequently. At one time I had as many as three, but now I have two, one of which I received when I moved into my first apartment at age 21. The one my husband and I received as a wedding gift had to be tossed last year when the crock literally split down the middle! It had been well-loved and well-used! Another one had been a “freebie” and was simply old and stopped working. But last fall my husband gifted me a slow cooker with my favorite SEC football team logo on the side. He so gets me! That’s the one I use most now. So, if you are in the market for a new slow cooker, here are some ideas: (verified links on 8/18/17 at 3:00 CDT)