There have been a lot of adjustments around here lately. As I mentioned before, the in-laws moved back. One reason they decided to do that was because our income got slashed by two-thirds practically overnight. Stress for everyone! This has caused a major shift in the way I think about simple, everyday things – like food.
One good thing about being broke is that it definitely sharpens your skillz of resourcefulness. In an effort to stop writing about my cats, I’m going to try to document some of the crafty discoveries I’ve found. Some of them will require pictures, so I’ll be saving those for when I can afford batteries for my camera. No joke, y’all.
On the other hand, some things are universal enough that I can let the internet provide the pictures for me.
Eric says that one thing he will always remember about me when we first met is that I would often eat peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon in lieu of having dinner. I’m not saying it was healthy, but neither were a lot of my other college-era choices, so whatever. Now, though, nutrition is at least somewhat of a concern. After many years of eating one large meal a day (at night, no less!) I’ve tried to adjust my eating habits to include at least a lunchtime meal and a reasonable dinner. One step at a time, breakfast. Be patient.
This was easy to accomplish when we had the money for deli lunch meats, baguettes, kalamata olives, arugula salads.. the good stuff. (I’m not saying I bought that stuff, but it was still different when I could have). But what do you do when you’re trying to squeak by on a budget that barely allows for groceries at all?*
Enter the childhood favorites! It was a huge revelation to me that the reason this stuff is so popular for kids is because it’s cheap. (I always thought it was because they tasted good. Aren’t fish sticks and tv dinners considered fine cuisine in some places?) My lunches aren’t terribly healthy (Ramen, ravioli, and PB&J aren’t exactly cornerstones of Weight Watchers), but it’s food. I’ve always heard it’s better to graze throughout the day, and I’m learning that I do feel better if I eat smaller meals all day instead of just one big one.
Maybe I burned myself out on peanut butter after the druggie-chic days. Maybe I just kept forgetting to buy it. Maybe I never kept bread in the house. Whatever the reason, peanut butter and I have been apart for a long, long time now. Until this week. Suddenly, I can’t get enough. A half-empty jar that had stood in the cupboard for two months disappeared in a matter of days. The last time I bought jam, I apparently had more money than I do now, because I went all out for the Polaner All-Fruit Preserves (blackberry, athankyou) and then never ate any, so that’s been a welcome accompaniment to the creamy goodness. After we ran out of the last jar, I gambled on some Family Dollar-style pb (after assuring Eric that there IS such a thing as gross peanut butter) and it’s actually pretty good. (Cheap bread, cheap peanut butter? Oh yeah. MUCH healthier than college.)
Still, though. It’s hard not to get discouraged when you want a mid-day snack and there’s nothing in the house, so a loaf of bread and some PB can make a difference in the morale around here. That might sound like an overblown sentiment to you, but just try looking at empty cupboards for two weeks straight and tell me you don’t feel like a failure as a housewife.
The best thing about peanut butter is that it’s pretty versatile. PB&J might always be the classic, but there are plenty of variations. Peanut butter and bananas, a local favorite. Peanut butter and honey, which I ate for breakfast this morning. (Breakfast is a subjective term here since I slept until noon.) Peanut butter and chocolate syrup, which I could easily feed Eric 5 times a day for 6 weeks if I didn’t care about his health at all. And one I found when I was googling pics but have never tried before (and possibly the unhealthiest of all): Peanut butter and bacon.
Looks intriguing at the very least, right? (Not that I can afford bacon right now..) Peanut butter sandwiches can be eaten plain, toasted, grilled, baked** – it’s an amazing food!
I have a high burnout rate for food, so even though peanut butter is one of my long-lasting loves, I’m sure it won’t be long before it’s relegated to once-a-week-or-less status. But then there’s always….
…grilled cheese and tomato soup. (Actually.. I think I know what’s for lunch tomorrow! (If I have cheese.))
*A little bit of an exaggeration.
**Disclaimer: I have never grilled nor baked a peanut butter sandwich, but I’ve thought about it. It sounds messy. If you try it and it’s terrible, please let me know so I can never do that.
All photos used under creative commons license.