Still Not Starving!

With as much as I’ve been complaining lately you’d think I was emaciated and frail, underfed and overworked. Not so true…

In fact my incredible pantry and freezer stock has really come through for me!  This last week I had refried beans and white rice, enchiladas, several ham and cheese sandwiches, chili and soup.

Last week I made a bunch of sandwiches ahead of time for the days when I wake up late or cranky, rush home on my lunch half hour and don’t have anything quick to cook.

The supplies:

By the way, I found it’s a lot easier to spread the peanut butter if you’ve microwaved it first. So a put a few scoops in a small jar, 30 seconds on high and done.

Put a thin layer of peanut butter on both sides so the jam doesn’t make the bread all soggy, add jelly, package and done.

I’ve also made soup from mixes my mom gave to me, heated up enchiladas from the freezer, cooked a lasagna, had burritos and leftover omelets and fasted for a few meals.

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Grocery Store Greed

It’s a bad habit of mine to wander around the grocery store throwing  things in my cart that “look good.”  I don’t exactly shop with a  plan in mind, just think to myself I would eat that.

This is not a preferred method.

For January I’ve given myself a budget of $50 and I would like to  take advantage of some sales to get protein back in my diet. Beyond  eggs and spam, that is.

That means continuing to use up items I have in my fridge, freezers  and pantry, supplementing with fresh ingredients where it’s NEEDED.

I was considering buying zucchini for burritos (I slice it long ways  and sautee with onions).  But zucchini is not in season which means  it’ll be more expensive, will spoil quicker and most importantly, it’s  not NEEDED.

So, no zucchini on my list. Instead I’ll pick up a case of refried  beans and trade those out with black beans for burrito bowls and  tacos. Those beans should last me 3 more months so the cost of a  case of beans is just $2.25 a month.  I might buy some sparkling ciders in lieu of juice but I definitely need to restock milk, eggs and cheese.

$50 isn’t a whole lot when you consider buying in bulk but it’s cheaper in the long run.  Even though it would be easier to spread out the $50 all month I’ll try to get all my shopping done this coming weekend. It’s way too tempting to go to the store every week.

I’ll just get greedy and convince myself fruit rolls ups should be at the base of the food pyramid. Or spicy turkey sausage for breakfast would make me, I don’t know, eat breakfast.

Unlikely.

I do need to find out if I can buy Taco Bell sauce at the grocery store now or if I should buy myself a taco and smuggle out the packets.  I wasn’t kidding when I said beans, rice and taco sauce are fan-cy!

Things I’ve Learned

here it is Day 28 and still nothing spent on groceries. I did eat out 3 meals out of town and once out of my allowance.  Here are a few lessons I’ve learned.

1. Clean the pantry first otherwise you’ll miss a lot of random food.

2. Pumpkins can be baked two months after Halloween if they’ve not been cut into. However,

3. Once the smoke starts to pour out of the oven it’s a good idea to remove the food therein. Blackened pumpkin seeds are not that yummy.

4. Make sure there is enough of the important staples on hand before beginning

5. And by staples I mean soup, of course

6. In the event of a chip shortage stale hard shell tortillas are an acceptable substitute

7. Milk can be frozen.

8. Lettuce should not be frozen.

9. Breakfast is optional.

10. Christmas goodies infuse a lot of sugar into the pantry

11. Dog treat may look like cookies but should not be consumed by humans

12. Halloween candy is an acceptable substitute to dog cookies

13. Canned carrots are just as good as fresh ones.

14. Green eggs and ham is more than a book.

15. Taco Bell seasoning makes rice and beans fancy.

16. Do not consider stringing popcorn or cranberries on a Christmas tree if you’ll be tempted to nibble.

17. Find something else to do when co-workers go out for coffee.

18. Weird recipes can be fantastic. Example: jello, cream cheese and pretzel salad

19. A nice table setting makes the sixth night of pasta and chicken a little more palatable

20. Keep a running grocery list of things you want to eat after the month is up.

Do What You Love

Not necessarily as work because as Penelope Trunk has argued, you’re going to do that anyway.  Work should be what you’re good at, what someone will pay you to do. But if you find something you love to do, do it.

Hobbies are for love.  When I was a kid I loved puzzles, not the crossword kind but honest to god 3,000 piece complicated pictures. And I’m pretty good at them. I can walk by, pick up a piece and snap it into place after a few seconds.

Drives my family nuts.

But I’ve never figured out how to get paid to assemble puzzles.

A recent hobby which I’ve really begun to enjoy and invest in is photography.  In a way it’s like a puzzle, usually it’s me plus the camera minus the ugly people in my way plus good lighting equals something amazing. Okay, that sounded more like math but you get the idea.  Every few Saturdays when I have the morning off I’ll walk downtown or drive out to the country and just take as many shots as I can.

It lets me be creative, gets me some much needed sunshine and it’s a fun hobby.

Occasionally I have a co-pilot, albeit one that abandoned me in the middle of Route 17

And when it’s too dark, cold, rainy or icky outside, I might just stay in and edit pictures. Or maybe finish a nice puzzle.

Guess Who?

Presents are slated to arrive tomorrow from ME to 5 women the world (okay USA) over. My Secret Santa is one of those women. Who do you think is getting this one?

hint: there is also a knife in the bag and permission to release ALL stress