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Sandra Gilpatrick, CFP ®,CDFA™

Budget helper: Cooking at home

Sandra Gilpatrick  | November 22, 2017

As the weather is crisper and our calendars are booking up with festive events, thoughts come back to my cooking demonstration client event around this time in 2015.  I try to make learning about personal finances more interesting by relating topics to daily life. Food is a budget item to discuss with many when financial planning.

 It's common to see the choice of convenience demonstrated by picking up take away or restaurant prepared meals. As working women, we are on the go with many demands. It seems work, family and activities take up more time than hours we have available. The default for quick last minute decisions for food are often more expensive and not as healthy.  Trying to decide on meals ahead, getting the groceries and then cooking during the work week takes planning. However, it can be done! I often cook ahead on Sunday to get me through until Wednesday. As a flashback to my client event, I'm reposting the easy, healthy & inexpensive recipe for “Squash and Chickpea Coconut Curry” soup. The photograph is from one of my attendees who enjoyed making it shortly after my event. It's great to make it ahead and tastes even better the day after.  Monday you could add shrimp and Tuesday some chicken for example to keep it interesting.

For over a decade I've cooked most of my dinners at home with quality ingredients for a fraction of what it would cost to dine out. Having my son, now old enough to be my sous chef, is beneficial. He's now more help than hinderance in the kitchen! I'm taking a cooking class this weekend to keep improving my skills. A small budget expense that will give me inspiration for my interest in cooking, as well as a practical application I will take home to my own kitchen.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy & delicious holiday season!


recipe by: Zoë Keller, Health & Nutrition Coach, One Beet Wellness*

Chilly fall nights call for warm, nourishing soups.  Soups are easily digestible, enabling your body to better absorb and assimilate nutrients.  This soup is one of my favorites – quick and easy to prepare, full of flavor, and very healthy.

Here are some of the nutritional highlights:

  • Curry spices and fresh ginger are powerful anti-inflammatories. They reduce inflammation due to a cold or flu, calm digestion, or help with sore muscles and joints.
  • Squash is filled with immune-boosting vitamin A, free-radical scavenging vitamin C, as well as dietary fiber to support healthy digestion.
  • Chickpeas are an excellent source of clean protein, insoluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Garnishing your curry with fresh scallions and cilantro gives you an extra boost of antioxidants. Both of them are among the most nutrient dense foods around!

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 winter squash, washed, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 can cooked chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk (or enough to cover the veggies)
  • 3 tbs. red curry paste (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro and scallions, chopped
  • Note: you can add chicken, shrimp, or other veggies if you like.

Directions (1 hour):

  1. Sauté the diced onions, garlic, and ginger in olive oil on medium while you chop the squash (totally fine to leave the skin on).  
  2. Add the squash and sauté for 5 minutes.  
  3. Add rinsed chickpeas and coconut milk to the sauté.
  4. Mix in the curry paste and simmer on low for 30 minutes, or until squash is cooked through.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with cilantro

* Keller and Sandra Gilpatrick and LPL Financial are separate and not affiliated