8 Recipes to Keep You Cozy in Winter and Other November 2019 Expenses

Early winter is teasing us with short bursts of snow. I was pleasantly surprised when it melted away, as I had imagined that we would have to hunker down for the rest of the season.

We spent most of November trying out a lot of recipes. I’ll share our November recipes and also my expenses for the month below.

8 Recipes We Made in November

These are 8 fall-inspired recipes we whipped up this month. Typically we cook side-by-side in the kitchen, with one of us acting as sous-chef.

Shakshouka

First up is shakshouka, greatly simplified by premade Trader Joe’s Harissa sauce. My rendering was not pretty, but it was delicious!

Shakshouka, recipe from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Ottolenghi

Veggie Quinoa Soup

Next up was this delicious quinoa soup recipe by one of my favorite food blogs for frugal eating: Budget Bytes. Despite how much we made, it disappeared quickly as it was a great meal for the colder days.

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Garden Vegetable Quinoa Soup – Vegan – Budget Bytes

Hawaiian Chicken Tacos

This was the second time we made this meal, as the first time was so unbelievably tasty that we knew we had to make it again. The sauce tends to run everywhere, but we found ourselves making sure we ate each drop. This meal will make it into our regular rotations because it’s easy, spicy, saucy, and so good.

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Instant pot Hawaiian chicken tacos with jalapeño ranch slaw – recipe from Pinch of Yum

Roasted cauliflower & hazelnut salad

We LOVED this next recipe, despite the fact that it was a bit off-beat for us. I was surprised when Mr. Mechanic picked it out of our favorite cookbook, but I was down to try something a little different. While we don’t usually experiment with salads, this ended up being a crunchy delight.

IMG_5217-scaled.jpgRoasted cauliflower & hazelnut salad recipe from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Ottolenghi

Chile Rellenos

Chile rellenos are a labor of love. At a community BBQ a few weeks ago I took advantage of the open flame to roast our poblano peppers. These can be steamed and skinned then frozen to make later. The smother sauce is also super tasty, so we made extra put in our other meals for the next few days. Even better– Mr. Mechanic isn’t a huge fan of chile rellenos (HOW?!) so I got to eat most of them.

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Chile rellenos – recipe from House of Yumm

Poached Eggs and Bacon

Case in point, here are my poached eggs covered by the chile relleno sauce the next morning. Coupled with english muffins, bacon, and tea, this Saturday breakfast was a highlight of the weekend.

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Grilled brie, cranberry, and prosciutto sandwiches

Another simple recipe was inspired by the sandwiches I had while in England. Grilled brie, cranberry, and prosciutto made a great pre-Thanksgiving snack.

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Thai sweet potato & carrot soup

Lastly, we have our autumnal soup– a Thai sweet potato & carrot concoction. Mr. Mechanic’s coworker gave us a bunch of sweet potatoes and carrots from her CSA, so we made a large batch. The (not-so) secret ingredient is peanut butter and sriracha, which unexpectedly make this soup extra delicious.

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Thai sweet potato and carrot soup – recipe by Cupful of Kale

Obviously, I’m not a food blogger– the photographs might not be worthy of a cookbook, but they should be enough to give you a peek into our kitchen life.  I often hear the refrain that “I couldn’t cut back on my grocery spending, I love food too much!” Believe it or not, we don’t spend a lot on groceries– in fact, my average is $108 per month! I hope this sampling demonstrates that you don’t have to cut interesting meals out of your diet in order to cut back on spending.

Expense report time!

Speaking of spending, this is supposed to be an expense report!

A note on reading these expense reports: for simplicity (and accuracy) I put all expenses in the month that they are paid. It is a record of just my expenses.

Item Amount Mechanic Musings
Rent $500 This includes utilities, which is a boon for these winter months!
Travel $418 We are doing a lot of travel over Christmas between visiting our two families, and I booked a night in an Airbnb for an extended stay during a business trip to Portland.
Groceries $163 With Mr. Mechanic working over Thanksgiving and my family generously hosting me, our meal costs for the holiday didn’t get too large. This covers all the ingredients for the meals above and more!
Healthcare $180 This bill was a bit dumb. I had a weird spot on my arm, looked it up online and it seemed benign. I went to the dermatologist to get it checked out, she took 5 seconds to tell me exactly what the internet said, and billed $180 for it.
Charity $100 Natural Resources Defense Council – The NRDC works to safeguard the earth – its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.
Automotive $27 Oil change and part of a tank of gas. Our tire pressure light blinks and stays on, but the pressure looks fine so I think there is something wrong with the monitoring system. I will have to look into how to fix it.
Internet $23  
Restaurants $14 Mr Mechanic and I got pizza for lunch one day in town. Other than that, the only time I went out was to get coffee on the weekends and blog in the coffee shop.

Total

$1,425

Not bad considering the travel bookings and dermatology bill.
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Fall photo on our daily walk

What about you?

What are your favorite fall recipes? 

Did Thanksgiving affect your grocery budget?

Let me know in the comments below!

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