Okra Stew, Cheap Haircuts and Lemonade Stands…

Hi everyone and please click on the title of this post to read more. Well, to state the obvious, times are tough. I am finding that everyone around me is making a concerted effort to cut corners economically and it is a real challenge.

In our family, we have decided to save in numerous ways, one of which is cutting our kids’ hair ourselves. We thought out of the box and went into the box of electric razors to give the men and boys in our family buzz cuts. Buying a $30.00 razor with attachments was cheaper than paying for one trip to the barber for the three of them. Now, that’s a savings. Our daughter must be picking up on the economic crisis because she, too, is getting out there to work (see video below)….

As for food items, we are looking at less expensive but healthy food options-also a real challenge, but not so much if we take a bit of time to learn about some obscure seeming vegetables, like okra. I received a lot of okra from my local vegetable coop, eyed it for a while in the fridge until I took the time to google okra,and find out how to prepare it and get that slimy texture out . Okra has a slime when you cut into it which serves as a thickener so it is good for stews. I created a surprisingly tasty recipe,kind of like a jambalaya, that went over quite well with friends and family. The more I reduced it (boiled it down), the less slimy it got. Here it is and I hope you like it:

Okra Stew (Vegetarian or not):

3 cups sliced okra
4 cups chopped tomatoes (about 6 plum tomatoes)
4 cloves minced garlic
1 chopped medium onion
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
3 chicken Andouille sausages (or any sausages) sliced in 1/4″ discs (optional but good)
1-2 cups cooked or preferably raw shrimp (optional but good)
2 pinches salt, pepper to taste, cayenne pepper (optional)
1-2 TBS canola oil

Heat up oil on med. heat and sautee garlic and onions until onions are translucent. Add the okra, tomatoes, broth, sausages and/or shrimp, spices, and simmer until reduced and thickened to your liking, about 30-45 minutes. Serve over rice, couscous or by itself. Enjoy!

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3 Responses

  1. Here is a hair cutting tip. If you are insecure about your barber skills but don’t want to buzz your boy’s hair super short, take them to a barber one more time, and then every so often. When you cut it yourself, you’ll be able to use the professional haircut they got the last time as a guide. (Disclaimers: I’ve been doing this for years on my kids curly hair, which hides many errors. I also admit following them around with scissors for a few days, evening things out. Finally, my children are six years old. They might not put up with my free form hair styles when they are older).

  2. Hey Alma – Growing up in Arkansas, my mom always made us fried okra. I loved it and ate it like popcorn. Okay, so it’s not the healthiest, but it’s delicious! You just chop up the okra into 1/4-1/2 inch thick pieces, salt and pepper them, and then dredge in a 1-to-1 flour/cornmeal mixture. Fry it up in a 1/4 inch of hot canola oil using your trusty iron skillet (and turn frequently until brown and crusty). Drain and enjoy! P.S. It’s very good with lemonade from your local lemonade stand! Take care and happy cooking, Suzanne

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