This past summer I took a trip to Europe with a friend. I did most of the planning and organizing (which I enjoy very much) of hotels, transportation, etc. My mom was present in the planning process as she was a travel agent, has been all over the world, and now was living vicariously through this new trip I was embarking on. It was helpful to have her information and advice. I knew that once I was over there she wouldn’t be there to help me along the way. I had to figure it out for myself. I did, as stressful as it was sometimes. It brought me out of my comfort zone and I’m grateful for that experience.
With my tax refund I’ve decided to take that money and plan a trip to Italy this fall. All of the family from my dad’s side live there. We’ve never met in person but thanks to Facebook we have been able to connect and keep in touch. I’m so excited to finally meet all of them. I feel like it’s a part of my life that isn’t fully complete. The warmth and welcoming from all of them when we started writing to each other was incredible. I look forward to catching up on a lifetime with them. I also look forward to pushing myself again as I explore Italy. My brother and I will be traveling around by ourselves for the first leg of the trip before we link up with family.
I’ve been fortunate to find inexpensive flights but travel is expensive and I need to budget and save as much as possible these next 9 months. Which now brings me to food, the main focus of this blog. In the past, I’m guilty of spending lots and lots of money on food. I would look at my account balance and be shocked by how much I would spend. It’s one of the easiest things to frivolously blow cash on. Before my last trip I budgeted like never before. It felt good seeing more money in the bank and I was still eating well even though it was rice, beans, and veggies most nights. It got me in the habit of going to the store and only eating what I made at home. Occasionally I would go out and eat with friends but It was nowhere near the amount I used to go out. My work schedule has also been helpful as I do a meal prep at the beginning of each week. I usually make a breakfast bread or granola and for lunches either soup, salads, or veggie patties. These meals are cost-effective and I don’t spend money on those two meals during my work week.
Below is a recipe for Curried Garbanzo Beans. I made it earlier in the week but had to make it again because of how good it was. It can be eaten by itself but I like to stretch it out by serving it with brown basmati rice, over a bed of spinach, or even added to brothy soups. It’s protein and fiber rich which will keep your tummies happy and satisfied.
Curried Garbanzo Beans
1 Tbs canola oil
½ white onion, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans
½ cup frozen petite peas
1 Tbs + 1 tsp garam masala, ground
1 Tbs tikka masala, ground
3 generous dashes of smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
red chili flakes to taste
2 Tbs coconut cream
½ cup low sodium vegetable stock
1 Tbs tomato paste
Over medium-high heat, add oil to a medium-size frying pan. Once it’s hot add your onions. Add a pinch or two of salt and let brown slightly for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garam masala, tikka masala, paprika, red chili flakes, and salt and pepper. Mix spices to evenly coat onions. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in peas (they don’t have to be thawed) and garbanzo beans. Again, stir to combine all ingredients. Lastly, add in coconut cream, veggie stock and tomato paste. Once everything as been stirred to combine, turn the heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.