Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu plan Monday and budgets

As always, Menu Plan Monday is brought to you by (and inspired by!) Organizing Junkie!

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner! Bacon, eggs and toast.
Monday: Creamy tomato soup (crockpot recipe) and grilled cheese
Tuesday: Grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes and tomato mozzarella salad
Wednesday: Chicken stroganoff, crock pot recipe, green salad
Thursday: Progresso soup and tuna-melt sandwiches
Friday: Hamburger helper with ground turkey
Saturday: Homemade chicken margarita pizza with sourdough crust! (I'm extra excited about this one!)

Starting this month, Geoff and I are also sticking with our budget. Since he takes care of most of the bills (power, credit card, car payments etc.) I am keeping track of the one thing I can control: groceries. Our goal is $250 a month, which amounts to about $60 a week. We usually do our shopping on Sundays, together, and today we only spent $56.60! I'm very excited to have come in under budget. My tentative goal is to see how much we spend, trying not to go over $250 and if we can regularly spend less, then we can adjust the budget as needed. Since groceries are one of the few flexible items on the budget (car payment and student loans, for example, are fixed) I'm hoping to save a little money here. So we'll see how it all works out. We are also trying to stock up the freezer with things that are on sale, like meat. Today we bought two whole chickens because they were .79 cents a pound and they're easy to cook. I'll use one of them in a couple weeks when we have a friend visiting and it should stretch far for us. I can't wait to see results in a few weeks...either on our waistline or in the bottom line of our budget!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's spring!

I realize that the end of February doesn't really constitute spring, especially in Massachusetts, where I'm from originally. However, with a mild winter up here in Seattle,  I have enjoyed several days of beautiful weather, allowing me to do one of my favorite spring activities...opening the windows and airing out the house!
The warmer weather and lack of snow has also inspired me to change my blog and the picture a little bit. Snow is rarely welcome after February, so I didn't want to encourage it by keeping a snowy picture up!
Saturdays are no different from every other day, for me, but since Geoff is home from work I am hoping we can get out of the house and enjoy this beautiful weather.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Food Waste Friday

This week's food waste Friday, brought to you, as always, by The Frugal Girl, is sans pictures, but unfortunately not sans waste.

This week I was forced to throw away most of a loaf of bread that just did not get cooked properly. It had a nice big hole in the middle, and it wasn't suitable for anything except my own personal snacking which was not beneficial at all. So, into the compost it went.

I also threw away a small helping of black beans. They were from a can and several weeks old. The problem with beans is that I don't eat them, and I couldn't figure out what else to do with them to make Geoff eat them. When I pulled them out to put in a salad, I discovered that when beans go bad they SMELL TERRIBLE. I'm ashamed to admit that they actually spent the morning on my counter because I couldn't bring myself to open them again and put them in the compost. No excuse as to why there aren't any photos, sorry about that.

All in all, not bad! Although I'm worried that next week's food waste is going to be featuring some lettuce if I don't hurry up and eat that.

How did you do??

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Depression: sad feelings of gloom and inadequacy

I struggle with depression.

Believe it or not, it's taken me years to gather the courage to say those four words out loud, and it took me years before that to even admit to myself that I was depressed. Surprisingly, it was my little sister who did it for me. Recently diagnosed with depression herself, she has it under control and doesn't shy away from telling people about it. She gave me the courage to be honest with other people once I was finally honest with myself.

I am not sure why it took me so long to admit that I was depressed. Part of it could have been the fact that there was no rational reason that I should be. I had no trauma in my life, and, for all intents and purposes, my life was pretty good. Why shouldn't I be happy? The summer I finally realized and admitted it and, ultimately, visited my doctor, I had just started my relationship with my husband, boyfriend at the time. I was happy, or at least I should have been. But I wasn't, and that was the problem.

I find myself struggling with a few things in relation to depression as a whole. I'm frustrated that there is a very real chance that I may be on drugs for it for the rest of my life. (There is also a chance that I can and will overcome it, or manage it with therapy and no drugs, but at this point, drugs are the best solution for me.)

Depression manifests itself in different ways with different people. This is an obvious statement, right? Sometimes I think I need to remind myself that the reason I'm feeling a certain way is because of my depression. Day in and day out I hang out in my house. Sometimes I get restless and NEED something to do, but sometimes I just want to stay here and never leave the house again. It's a daily struggle, and one that is exacerbated by the fact that I don't have a job yet, something that gives me reason to get up every day.
It may sound weird to say this, but I often have no reason to get dressed, shower, and leave the house. Any grocery shopping Geoff and I need to do is done together on Sundays. The recent decision we have made to start working out together helps, but why would I get dressed if I'm just going to put on workout clothes and shower after the workout, at about 4? If I let myself, I could sit on the couch in my pajamas every day until it's time to go work out. But I don't. Part of my resolution to help work through my depression involves setting my alarm for 8:30 a.m., (though I don't always get up exactly then), showering, getting dressed and putting on jewelry.

I'm not sure why I decided to share this here, of all places. Maybe because it's been weighing on my mind lately, maybe because, even if there aren't that many people who read this there is someone who is where I was a few years ago. Too afraid to say out loud that they struggle with depression. Mostly though, I think I needed to get it out, to explain to myself why I can't always leave the house, and to realize just how far I have come. I have a ways to go, of course, but I am a long way from spending my days in my bathrobe, or in bed. And for that, I'm proud of myself.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu plan Monday!

I've been a little lax in my menu plan posting, but not in my planning, thankfully! Here's this week's plan:

Sunday: Sourdough pancakes
Monday: Weight Watchers skillet macaroni and cheese and garden salad
Tuesday: Hungry Girl's Chicken Cordon Bleu, pasta and salad
Wednesday: Homemade pizza with leftover sausage on Geoff's side and leftover ham and canned pineapple on the other side for me!
Thursday: BLT sandwiches and Progresso soup
Friday: Shredded French-Dip sandwiches and salad, as long as there is enough lettuce that hasn't gone bad yet!
Saturday: Night out!
As always, menu planning brought to you by!

I've been a little lazy and cooked pretty much out of the pantry for the past two weeks, so I'm feeling like I should get back into putting a little more effort into my cooking this week.
The French bread for the French dip sandwiches and the bread for the BLTs will hopefully be homemade. I've been working on baking my own bread, but there is a slight learning curve. My first two loaves were a little too small and dense, and my second two had a huge hole in the middle of them!!  A little research shows that I might have let them rise a little too quickly, therefore allowing holes to be saved in there. I'm going to try again tomorrow or Wednesday and hopefully will have slightly better luck.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Embracing the old married couple

Recently someone I follow posted about the Entertainment book and I was intrigued. When I was younger my family was given one, and I've seen kids selling them as a fundraiser, but hadn't given it much thought before now. The link proclaimed that the book was only $21, or 40% off, so I bookmarked it and waited for!
While I waited, I asked a friend if she thought I should do this or was it a waste of money. Her response was that it would pay for itself pretty quickly, and it was clear that I was becoming an old married couple, so I should embrace it! So I did.
I also got suckered into getting the subscription which means $5 more off, free shipping on next year's book and $5 off next year too. All in all I ended up paying about $19 which includes shipping! For a book full of coupons tailored to my area, I thought this was pretty good. If we don't use it enough this year I will hopefully remember in time to cancel next year's book!
I'll let you know how we make out!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Photographer I am not

I absolutely love photography. I feel like I can really appreciate good photography and photo editing, but photographer I am not! I've been trying to learn how to take better snapshots though, and I do try to take the advice of the few photographers I do follow.
Recently I read something I should have known. Get down on the subject's level and don't be afraid to look silly. Hmm.

I am enjoying a slightly rare sunny day here in Seattle, and though Hermione (our fur baby who has yet to be introduced on this blog!) is an indoor kitty, I figured even she could benefit from an outside brushing and a little sun. After removing what seems like a whole other cat worth of fur, I let her roam on our small porch...and I practiced a little photography!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu plan Monday! and some other ramblings...

Both last week and this week we were able to get away with very minimal grocery shopping which makes me very happy! The reason we were able to do this is a combination of cooking from the pantry and freezer, and using leftovers.

That said, we DID go to FatBurger last Tuesday...but other than that we ate quite well, even for Valentine's Day! We spent about $35 on fresh scallops, pasta and grapes from Pike Place Market on Saturday and Geoff grilled them up while I made fresh rolls! It was a delicious (and much cheaper than going out) meal together :)

Anyway, onto the menu planning:

Monday: Frozen shrimp skillet meal
Tuesday: Out with friends for a Mardi Gras potluck
Wednesday: Grilled chicken, rolls (hopefully leftovers), tomato and avocado salad
Thursday: Breakfast for dinner with bacon
Friday: BLT sandwiches and Progresso soup
Saturday: Night out! (I'm pushing for Outback)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

maybe my heart told your heart
it had a parking space outside
or that we both like taking walks
and doing things at night.
maybe our hearts have the same favorite colors
and found each other that way.
or maybe it was because they both
like sunshine best.
and always tell the summer to stay.
maybe your heart sent my heart a secret message
that said: I've been waiting for you... let's go LOVE.
or maybe when it comes to things like this, there aren't reasons...
hearts just know.

(My sister read this for her toast at our wedding last month)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I don't WANT to be home all day

I want a job. I'm tired of being unemployed. I'm tired of knowing the TV schedule front to back and knowing what I want to watch while I fold laundry, work on my scrapbook, cross stitch, bake. It was fun in the beginning, but I'm getting tired of it.

The biggest frustration for me right now is people who ask how the job search is going. I've gotten everything from, "Are you not working yet?" to "Wow, that sounds nice, hanging out all day!" It was, at first. But without a baby to take care of, it's just me, myself and the housework, which really isn't even that difficult or time consuming. (Don't get me wrong, I don't want a baby to take care of at the moment, but it would at least change things up a bit!)
Today at the chiropractor's the receptionist asked me what I was going to do all day. I was too embarrassed to tell her that going out for that appointment was my big outing of the day. I got Starbucks, mailed two more applications and headed home. Luckily I need to run out to get some flour for bread, so that gives me another outing. (Unfortunately I got caught up in Wife Swap because they switched husbands instead! But I'm going out after that).

I should feel lucky that I'm spending my days hanging around the house, that I have the time to go to a doctor's appointment and can work out every day. It is inspiring me to work out just so I can get out of the house, so that has been beneficial. Realistically, when I finally DO get a job I'll be working at least part time, if not full time for the next 45 years. I should enjoy relaxing while I can. But going from being busy all day at school to doing nothing? I just can't do it.

Tonight's dinner is a creamy tomato soup cooked in the crock pot and, as long as I can get it going in time, grilled cheese sandwiches on homemade bread! Yum.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Food Waste Friday

This week's Food Waste Friday does not have any pictures, but trust me, it wasn't pretty. There is good news and bad news in that department though. The bad news is there was a lot of waste this week. The good news is that a good chunk of it went towards starting my compost bin!

Here is what I had to throw away and my explanation!
2 slices of pizza leftover from 2 weeks ago. Oops, it somehow got forgotten.
Half a garlic bulb. I tried to use this up because I inherited it (it was here when I moved in!) but Geoff also has a huge jar of minced garlic so I've been using that because it's much easier.
5 baby carrots, forgotten in the back of the fridge from before I moved in.
A few stalks of celery that weren't bad, but I knew wouldn't get used up before they went bad. Preemptive striking.
2 bran muffins from about 2 weeks ago. We just didn't eat them fast enough, I guess.
Parsley, which I used a small amount of, and knew when I bought it that it might end up here.
And, finally, cheesy potato soup from at least 2 1/2 weeks ago. I'm very embarrassed that this was STILL in the fridge because it definitely needed to go.

Hopefully next week will be better. We have been doing well eating our leftovers, and have had very little recently, so I am optimistic! I'm also very excited about our new compost, so expect to be hearing more about that in the future too!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Menu plan Monday!

Sunday: Leftover chicken soup, biscuits (more on that!)
Monday: BLT sandwiches and spinach with parmesan and breadcrumbs. A delicious Weight Watchers recipe!
Tuesday: Sourdough pancakes and bacon
Wednesday: Chicken and dumplings, another WW recipe from the Comfort Classics cookbook
Thursday: Tacos with ground turkey
Friday-Sunday we will be in Oregon, visiting Geoff's sister for the Superbowl, so I have no idea what dinners will be!

As usual, this is brought to you by!

Now, about the leftover chicken soup. Geoff had bought some beer back in Nov/Dec. and hadn't gotten around to drinking it. Since beer isn't quite like wine, it really wasn't that good. Last Wednesday we used some in the beer can chicken (this beer is in a bottle, so I poured it into an empty Dr. Pepper can!) but we had a leftover chicken carcass that needed to be used, so Geoff made soup. He poured about 3 bottles of beer in to make the broth, but it made it a little, for lack of a better word. Anyway, he ended up replacing the beer with water and chicken broth and we have leftovers for lunch!

It doesn't look amazing, but it was pretty good.

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