A modest fancy meal

This was taken last year at our former apartment. Is it obvious Elmo loves his pasta?

Just because we're trying to stick to a budget does not mean we cannot indulge in a few nice things.

For dinner Sunday, my kids and I had spaghetti aglio olio -- which is just a fancy name for spaghetti tossed in sauteed garlic and olive oil. A bottle of oil worth P110 lasts us about a month.

I tell my kids not to order this when they do go out for meals because it is so easy to whip up.

You take a pot of water, boil it and drop a Knorr chicken cube. Cook the pasta, drain it at just the perfect time, and toss two or three cubes of butter.

Next you pour a reasonable amount of olive oil into a pan, add crazy amounts of chopped, crushed garlic, and go out and see how your neighbors are salivating from the smell of it alone. Add another chicken cube and when it's dissolved -- not toasted, because it lumps again -- put in the noodles and toss well. Remember to lower the fire at this stage. If you have some white garlic powder, that's good, too.

And you're done.

To complete our "fancy" dinner tonight, we toasted some wheat-based garlic rolls (8 pieces for 47 pesos!) and on a nice white, rectangular plate, poured olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some dried rosemary.

We have iced water and sometimes iced coffee (Kopiko 3-in-1 or anything else at less than P10 a sachet).
No beer or wine tonight -- another time, perhaps.

Some people tease my kids and me about our liking for sauceless pasta, saying it's bland, but who says spaghetti always has to be red?

For the holidays, we'll probably do the same with some add-ons. Slices of Hungarian sausage, perhaps, or shrimps and mussels.

Carbo-loading? Sure. It's Sunday, anyway, and despite ourselves, we still have many things to celebrate.