Oh friends. Eating clean on a budget was not always easy for me and my crew. But can we be real for a minute? Living on a budget has not always been easy for me and my crew. Full disclosure here- I had to hit rock bottom- like single mom, do I choose between gas to get to work or groceries to feed my children, rock bottom- to finally wake up and change how I managed my family’s money. There is just no real teacher like experience to get you on the right track, you know? Tonight’s dinner reminds me of those days. When I was in college, I worked multiple jobs to pay my bills, keep myself and my family insured, and hopefully cover childcare if I was lucky. It was tough. But man, did it teach me some powerful lessons.
Sweet friends, a small request: when you see your servers at restaurants, your tellers at the bank, your cashier at Target- anyone working low-wage, service-driven jobs- if their demeanor is less than amiable, please know that it may be because this isn’t their only job. And they may have lots of worries. And they may be studying to better themselves, or working multiple jobs to support their children. They may have children with challenges or they may have challenges themselves. If you’re the only person they see who offers them encouragement- please be that person. I was there. I know I was not my nicest in those years. I’m sure I offended many people who didn’t deserve it. Realistically, I’m pretty sure I got caught up in a bad day that lasted about 5 years. And it took lots of encouragement from people willing to put up with my foolishness to dig me out of it.
Okay. PSA over. Now for the good stuff. So when you’re broke and need a meal that reminds you of your mama that’s also cheap and goes a long way, this Crock Pot Brunswick Stew is the way to go. And even with entirely organic ingredients, this baby is a poor man’s paradise. It’s also delicious if you aren’t worried about your budget and just love Brunswick Stew. Here’s how I did it, but you can easily change it up to suit your tastes:
- 2 cups okra, cut into 1 inch slices**
- 1 cup corn off the cob
- 2 cups shelled edamame (soybeans) (or lima beans, but edamame is a healthier option. Just watch out- almost all soybeans are GMOs)
- 1 large diced onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped peppers
- 5 small red potatoes, chopped
- 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (you can make your own, but I use Annie’s brand)
- 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (Grand Muir makes great organic tomatoes)
- 1 cup chicken broth or stock (of course, I did 1/2 c. broth and 1/2 c. white wine)
- 2 cups shredded chicken or pork (and honestly, you can make this with less than a cup of chicken- because that’s the whole point- stretching what you don’t have and making up for it with others)
Ready for the fun part? Put it all in the crock pot and let it cook for 8-10 hours on low. Or 4-6 hours on high.
**Word to the wise: add your okra during the last hour of cooking so it keeps its crispness. Unless you like mushy okra, in which case, add it at the beginning.**
This is totally my favorite ever. You can sweeten it up with honey or brown sugar, change out the wine I used for bourbon, change out the veggies for your faves, or omit the BBQ sauce entirely and call it vegetable soup! This recipe also makes a massive amount of stew- so you can feel free to freeze what you don’t eat and save it for a rainy day- or share with a friend who could use some comfort food too 🙂
Here’s to eating well and living well- whatever our means,