Susanna asked- If you ever have a chance, could you put up some of your favorite family recipes? Also, any tips to cut down on the grocery bills??
Tulip asked: Would love to know about any recipes you use with the beans, lentils, etc.
Answers: Most of what we eat is fairly simple and made from scratch. Our rule of thumb for most meals is that they are easy, economical, and can be made relatively quickly (since we have to make so much of what we make). Of course, we also have to factor in that we have to be able to get the ingredients needed here too! :)
I plan meals that are not complicated because I enjoy teaching my girls how to cook and the more they are able to do on their own, the happier they are (because they love to say, "Daddy, I made 'so and so' all by myself!") and the more time I have to attend to other things.
As our family has grown and the appetites of the chitlins have grown as well, finding meals that I can make in large quantities is important! Our children have grown up eating simply. They are not picky eaters...they usually come to the table quite hungry and eager to see if mommy's made enough for a second helping :)
With making so much food each day, we try to keep our meals to things that can be prepared in 30 min. or less. For example, eggs are inexpensive and readily available here. Though we all have different ways we like our eggs cooked, generally, we eat them scrambled because that is the fastest way to cook them. Elijah, for his birthday (we let each child plan the menu for his/her special day), requested cheese omlets for breakfast...it took a while to make that many omlets, but as it was a special occasion, we planned for the extra cooking time :)
As far as sharing favorite recipes, I thought maybe what I would do is just every so often write a recipe or two down (and maybe include a picture) of what we eat that day. I will label the posts "recipes" so they can easily be found. I'll probably start this tomorrow. :)
As far as tips for cutting down grocery bills, this is what I do here:
*Cook from scratch
*A little bit of meat goes a long way; I shred the meat very fine, add it to the other ingredients, and you don't have to use much at all and nobody notices :)
*Don't let your children be picky!! Start them from the beginning eating simply. If they don't eat what is served, don't let them eat until the following meal. Be careful about snacking in between meals. We teach our children that we need to eat whatever is served to us with asking God to bless the food and thanking Him for it. Living here, it is so very important that we never "turn up our noses" at somebody's hospitatlity and service...and we've been served some very interesting things. :) Have your children work hard...get their bodies moving!! This makes very hungry tummies! And give them as few choices as possible...I allow them to say if they would like to have spicy salsa or not on their food. And I am merciful to Elijah who gags and has his eyes water up when he eats a raw tomato (though we are working on him there :) ). But I just serve up the plates all the same and everyone sits down and enjoys! :)
*Buy in Bulk
*Limit desserts (this one isn't my favorite :) )
*Drink water (instead of something else)