Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Cracked D:

I bought Taco Bell. The AM crunchwrap was calling my name. I skipped breakfast and didn't pack a lunch. And who am I trying to impress with this challenge anyway? Nobody that's who. I was doing it for myself...which makes it worse. D*: 

If we are being honest here....I also went to a movie and got dinner afterwards. 

And I bought .54 cents worth of tortillas in the clearance section at Dillons. They had to be sold that day and I found change in my car to buy them...but what was I doing at Dillons in the first place if I wasn't supposed to spend money?!?! 

In lieu of such failures I think I should extend the challenge to November...with some tweaks. Starting November I will allow myself one purchased meal a week. And some groceries....what's reasonable? 30$ for the month? 10$? 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ramen...not so much

Although cooking ramen in an oversized wok is possible, it's not very practical unless you are cooking for a family or an oversized person. 

Normally, I only like to make half a package of ramen at a time...my wok was too big and forced me to cook the entire package. My water to noodle ratio still looked off so I added some dumpriiing too. 



Good thing I thought I was hungry. 



Turns out my eyeballs were bigger than my stomach. I made too much. I would call this a wok fail. (Unless you're feeding hungry children or sumo wrestlers) Stick to a normal pot if you're cooking ramen for one. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

No spending week 1

So it's been a week since I started no spending. 

And I've spent money...But hear me out. 

25$ on a game called Sass Code. In my defense, I tried to buy the game in July. But it was sold out. And they finally made more. And I couldn't wait to see if they would still have some in a month. If you are of the female persuasion and want an awesome game for girls night in, buy it. 

10$ for a matting class. In my defense I signed up for it a while ago and forgot it would cost money. 

And then some dog food, a plane ticket, and bridesmaid dress. 

On Sunday I was so hangry (angry because you are hungry) that I almost bought some Taco Bell. I thought "f this noise...what am I trying to prove? Nothing. Because I've already done this before and was successful. What's 5$ at Taco Bell? A delicious meal, that's what it is!" Then I remembered how I overspent in the first place...5$ here, 5$ there, next thing you know the credit card is over 5k$ :| So I restrained. And ate who knows what. And it wasn't as delicious as Taco Bell. 

In other news, my stainless steel wok magically stopped sticking. Every time I use it I do the same thing: heat it up with oil. Then cook with it. And clean up involves wiping with a paper towel or rinsing with water. Or. Sometimes scrubbing with fine steel wool. (And sometimes I don't like to use punctuation properly and I call it artistic license) Well today I did the same thing. My wok was too hot for an egg and I thought "whoops!!  Guess I'll have scrambled because there's no way that didn't stick." And I was wrong. Didn't stick. And that's the end of my story. So maybe stainless can and should be seasoned like cast iron. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Find all the FREE food!

One secret to surviving a month without spending is to find free food. 

Saturday: birthday party
Today: open house at a local restaurant where they had a free buffet set up 
Tomorrow: going to a conference, that's breakfast and lunch right there.

Also, do favors for your friends where they will feel guilty and buy you a chick fil a sandwich. 

Sign up for email alerts at local restaurants that give free food when you sign up. (Caribou coffee gives you a free medium drink). 

And...I got a free rotisserie chicken at my local Dillons (king snoopers (hahahah look what auto correct changed it to) Kroger, city market... that chain). At my local store they have a policy where if there are no chickens available from 11am-7pm they will give you one for free when the next batch is ready. I discovered this when I wanted a chicken...and ended up waiting 30 minutes for the next batch...but it was free. 

If you are a planner you would also have a vegetable garden planted...maybe your neighbor has a garden and can steal their overripe neglected vegetables...like a raccoon. 

If you are a college student or live near a college, there are always tons of free food opportunities if you keep your eyes open. 

...or just go on the SERE school diet. You can go 30 days without food before you die. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Cooking noodles in a wok

It's possible. And pretty easy. And the same as cooking in a pot. 

Boil water 

Add noodles

Drain when done. 

What I made with the noodles was gross... It involved cream cheese and butter and regular cheese and other things that sound like it would go well together but didn't.I should've just stuck to butter noodles. I didn't document my mess. I ate it anyway because I don't have the luxury to waste food.

I also realized stainless steel cooking is hard. Things stick. My eggs stuck the first time. But I scrambled them so I didn't care. I must do more research and experimentation to determine the best way to cook with this wok properly. 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Woktober!!!

In addition to no spend October, I thought to myself..."why don't I try to cook everything in a wok?!"

I have a really great looking wok and wok turner GI Joe bought me. And. I feel like it has untapped versatility. Most people think of using a wok only for Asian stir fry. But why not boil noodles in there? Cook soup? Dare I say, layer a lasagna and bake it?

Only one way to find out how versatile this thing really is. And...how convenient would it be for a new chef to only purchase one cooking item as they learn to cook? I've seen 365 days of crockpot cooking...but I haven't seen much wok cooking on the internets (except for Asian food). 

Maybe this is the genius idea to launch a cookbook!!

Ok. First thing I made today was a fried egg. 

I learned that either stainless steel or the fact that I have a wok heats up waaaayy faster than my normal frying pan. 



Sometimes I like my egg with crunchies. As you can also see, the wok is a little overkill for my one little egg. However, if it means only owning/cleaning one cooking device, I can deal with the size differences. 

No spend October

...and you thought I stopped blogging, didn't you?

I've done it before and I'm doing it again. I'm not spending money this month.  September was a bad month financially and I need to get things back on track. Here are my exceptions to not spending:
Gas
Necessary dog things (like food not toys)
A bridesmaid dress
A plane ticket to the wedding I need a dress for
Beer to finish a minitour at Old Chicago, but no food items. 
Eggs. I have a really good thing going with a local egg lady. I get 1 dozen eggs every other week for 1.50. It's 3$ over the course of the month and I don't want to ruin this thing I have going. 
And 10$ in farmers market veggies.

I only added the last one because I can't remember the last time I've been to a grocery store. My fridge is getting a bit bare of fruits and veggies and I don't want scuvy. 

One challenge I already know I'll face include throwing a growing away party for a friend. I have no bread or chips in the house and I can't trust the people coming to make it a potluck...I can tell them to bring beer though. 

Same rules apply where if I REALLY need something, I have to find something to return first. 

I haven't purchased anything starting Sep 29 so (for the sake of Halloween) I'll go until Oct 30th without spending.