My Grocery Challenge


On average, our family spends over $1100 a month on groceries. I learned this last week upon beginning Financial Peace Univeristy. Throughout our nearly 24 year marriage, I have made it a point to stay mostly ignorant on all things related to money. “Blah, blah, blah, blah…” is the script which ran through my head whenever the Hubs would want to have “the talk.” 

But now, for some reason, the Lord is giving me courage to open my eyes and share the responsibility with the Hubs. I feel both empowered by knowing our finances and encumbered because I now need to seriously participate in the process. We are not in financial straits at all yet the time seems right. 

We discussed our food budget. Aside from our mortage, it is the place where we spend the most. Although we narrowly averted a verbal altercation about lettuce right after attending church (!), we had a pleasant conversation about finances that night. My spirit was  challenged to consider ways we could cut back. 

I like to cook, it is my gift to my family. Cooking for others, entertaining, making new recipes; all these things are my passion. Coupons don’t work because we eat mostly fresh food or unprocessed items. I just see junky food in coupons. (Enlighten me if you feel otherwise!) For me, a cupboard full of food means stability. Bringing home groceries feels like I’m carting in Christmas presents for all to enjoy.

Yet as we were driving home from this week’s FPU lesson, I said something unexpected to the Hubs. When he told me that we had already spent $1100 on groceries this month, I blurted out the most preposterous thing.

“Let’s spend only $50 this week.”

HUH? I couldn’t take it back. The Hubs heard me and albeit he was shocked to hear those words coming out of MY mouth, he agreed. Here is a dramatic re-enactment of his facial expression. 

My husband. My muse. 

We announced the budget cut to the OS and a look of panic swept over their faces. Fear of starvation and famine, eating gruel and mush filled their adolescent minds and appetites.

So here we sit on Wednesday. According to my records, we only have $12 left until Sunday. 

For some time now, God has reminded me of this verse…

It’s Wednesday and everyone has a belly full of food. No one has gone hungry. Nutrition is plentiful. We even have shrimp in the freezer! Strangely, I feel a measure of peace. I have already prepared another meal for a family who has a wife battling breast cancer. I am in charge of snacks for my orange hair, freckle face OS’s basketball team tomorrow. I brought food to share during my women’s Bible Study. 

My daily longing for purchasing a large, unsweet iced tea is being satisfied at home with Trader Joe’s Mango Tea. The warm smell of turkey tacos, Guatemalan rice and seasoned tortilla chips permeates the house at this very moment. 

“Be content with what you have.”

I have spoken to the Lord and questioned Him about the timing though. “Um, Lord, I’m not sure if you realize this but it’s MY BIRTHDAY tomorrow (Thursday)! We only have 12 bucks, what are we going to do about that, hmmmmmm?” 

“Be content with what you have.”

I have requested homemade angel food cake (Ike’s specialty) for tomorrow. I’d love some fresh blackberries and homemade whipping cream if we can squeak the remaining $12 out to do so. I’m not sure what is on the menu for tomorrow’s birthday meal but as I assess my possessions, both earthly and those set on things above…

a sewing machine 🙂
a loving family
the blessings of treasured friends
stable finances and 
an enduring faith in the Lord,
and so much more

This will be my desire

to be content with all that I have

my bountiful life

Redemption para Senor Taco Cabesa (Redemption by Mr. Taco Head)

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It’s only taken 10 months for there to be redemption in my house. Say what??? I’m talking about coupon redemption, folks; we found redemption of the spiritual sort individually quite some time ago, which by the way, is a VERY good thing!

On my birthday, which happens to be January 27th so be sure to mark it down, my middle OS gave me a coupon for him to make dinner for the family. I read the fine print, “this coupon is a legal voucher for a complete meal on any non-school day. This must be presented to the giver before 3:00 on that day or before that day. The only other rule is that you must enjoy your meal and have a nice time doing whatever it is that you do while you are not cooking.” Isn’t that cool?

This morning I announced/asked Aaron if he could make dinner tonight. With only a momentary hesitation, he agreed.

Around 6pm, my middle OS began to make turkey tacos. He donned the family chef’s hat, tied the apron around his trim waist and set to work. I worked on some sewing projects and snapped pics to capture every moment as he unabashedly posed for the camera not fully realizing the apron he actually had selected. Take a minute and you’ll see what I mean…

Aaron was wearing a reversible apron I made in the summer. I chuckled seeing Aaron chopping onions, browning the turkey meat with the girly side of the apron in full view.

I think my OS forgot that the other side of the apron has something much more to his liking. Guitars. Aaron LOVES guitars and music possibly more than fashion. As soon as I pointed out which side he was wearing and he realized I had the pictures to prove it, Aaron reversed to the more manly print.

How interesting it was for me to see Aaron frantically running around the kitchen trying to get everything ready at the same time. HALLO~Welcome to my world! Moms, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Sometimes it’s so crazy trying to put food on the table. I believe Aaron had an epiphany tonight and we shall see how long that lasts. The aroma filling the house was quite delicious and although it would make a funnier post to say the meal was a flop, that would be a lie. Y’all, my boy can throw down! Tonight was husband training at its finest. Excuse me while I take a bow…

The true test of a good meal in our home is silence. If people aren’t talking while eating, you know it’s good. Take, for example, my angel food cake. You could have heard a crumb drop. And if a crumb had dropped, you would have heard someone licking it up! Tonight’s turkey tacos produced only the sound of crunching. In other words, we enjoyed mealtime.

I’m so glad I found redemption today and cashed in on my dinner coupon. In between bites, I bestowed upon Aaron a new nickname, thanks to a scrumptious meal, he is now crowned Senor Taco Cabesa!

Angel food cake fun (recipe included)


p1060931Thanks to a pregnant sister who has some pretty serious food cravings these days, I made two killer birthday cakes, one for my husband, one for my mom. I have a reputation in my family for cheesecake. I don’t know what I do but my mom says that nobody can do cheesecake like me.

But for these March birthdays, Denise suggested angel food cake.

Last year I made an angel food cake and she didn’t forget how good it was. I learned a valuable lesson during my first angel food cake experience that I thought I’d share.

When you take the angel food cake out of the oven to cool, don’t, I repeat, don’t, suspend the angel food cake from a soda bottle. Trust me on this. If you do not heed my staunch warning, oh you’ll see that your beautiful angel food cake will fall in fluffy, white clumps onto your marble kitchen island. And that, my friends, is not pretty and quite shameful.

p1060928Last year, I scooped up the pieces of my destroyed dessert, placed them in a glass bowl and redeemed the whole thing with homemade whipping cream and strawberries.

I then sprinkled powdered sugar over each serving and the entire crowd was utterly silent devouring every last morsel of the crest-fallen creation.

You could have heard a pin drop last year. When no one is talking during a meal or a dessert, that’s when you know you done good.

p1060939This time, I wanted to achieve the same delicious flavor minus the flop.

Isaac was my trusty sous-chef and we made two, count em, two angel food cakes.

At first, it seemed we were going to have another problem. As Ike whipped the egg whites and such together on the first cake, nothing poofed up.

I ran upstairs and began googling “angel food cake problems” and that tasty guy kept at it. I was certain we were going to have to start all over again but to my amazement, Ike’s perseverance paid off.

My sweet OS had faithfully swirled the mixer around for almost 10 minutes, I’m not kidding, until the egg whites, cream of tartar, etc., decided to do their thing. I was thrilled!

p1060960Ike and I beheld our desserts and beamed with pride. They were purty, y’all.

As our family streamed into our house for dinner, I couldn’t wait to show them our angel food cakes.

My mom was definitely impressed to learn that 12 year old Ike was instrumental in the success of these tasty delights. Ike is going to be one fine catch some day! Ladies, watch out!

I placed the cakes on the table along with the beautiful roses I had purchased at Sam’s Club. We sang “Happy Birthday” and cut into the sticky, spongy white cake. Then I decorated each piece with fresh strawberries, blackberries and blueberries, a dollop of whipped cream and my signature dusting of powdered sugar.  I recall moments of silence and requests for another helping and Ike and I were satisfied in every way.

p1060976So you want the recipe? Here it is…


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cake flour (make sure it’s cake flour)
1 1/2 cups large egg whites (about 12) best if the eggs are room temperature
1 1/2 t. cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 t. almond extract
1/4 t. salt

Move oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix sugar and flour, set aside.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until foamy.

Beat in granulated sugar, two tablespoons at a time, on high speed, adding vanilla, almond extract and salt with the last addition of sugar.

Continue beating until stiff and glossy meringue forms. Do not underbeat.

Sprinkle sugar-flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, over meringue, folding in just until sugar-flour disappears. Push batter into angel food cake pan. Cut gentle through the batter with metal spatula.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cracks feel dry and top springs back when touched lightly.

Immediately turn pan upside down onto a baking rack. Let hang about two hours or until cake is completely cool. Loosen side of cake with knife or long, metal spatula, remove from pan.