Thursday, July 16, 2015

This is dinner?


Ricotta filled squash sandwiches with bean-stuffed avocado (avocado pictured separately...I didn't stuff it...clearly)

This didn't sound filling when I read the recipe. There were no leftovers--and not because it was good, just because we were so hungry from our pitiful and unfulfilling dinner. 

I'm so embarrassed I made this. I have only one job and I can't even do that right. 

One day left in my first trial week, and tomorrow's dinner doesn't sound like it's going to be a winner either. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Oh no! Sloppy Joe!

I despise a sloppy joe. And that is not a reference to my husband. (Although I don't particularly enjoy a sloppy GI Joe.)

Just last week I was having a discussion with my beloved about sloppy joe--the slightly sweet, tomato-based ground beef dish traditionally served on bread (open faced) or between bread (sandwich). We both came to the conclusion that neither one of us like it--let me rephrase that--neither one of us want to eat it ever again in our lifetimes. We even joked that our unborn children will never understand a sloppy joe until they are in college and its on the dorm-cafeteria menu. They will be so confused how they spent 18 years never knowing such a prominent part of Americana. 

...that is until Fresh20 happened. First meal on my list "Tex Mex sloppy joe and watermelon feta salad."

I want to give this meal planning thing an honest try, so I followed the recipe to a "T". I even measured the salt instead of eyeballing it. I must say it was a very strange experience following directions...until it instructed me to add syrup (or honey. Or molasses. Or whatever you have in the pantry to make it sweet). I couldn't do it. I can't eat sloppy joe! I don't like it! I'm not a child, and I don't have to eat things I don't like anymore! 

Which brings me to my first complaint about the meal planning thing: what happens if you don't like what's on the menu? The beanless chili-bolognese sauce baby I ended up creating was good, not great, but something I would consider cooking again. I was able to avoid the dreaded sloppy joe. But the watermelon feta salad...GI Joe wouldn't touch it. He had two servings of the beef thing instead. Now he doesn't get leftovers for lunch because he already ate his allocated portion. 

On a positive note, dinner took one skillet and 30 minutes. And I discovered a little chopped basil with watermelon is uber delicious. 

It's nothing glamorous (I was too hungry to worry about lighting and presentation) but that's what dinner looked like today. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Trying the meal plan thing

So. I decided to try out the meal planning thing. Everyone that's anyone is doing it.  

Basically, you pay a subscription ($5/month) and receive a weekly meal plan with a shopping list and recipes. It makes 5-6 meals plus leftovers for lunch and should use up all the ingredients. With these services, you should never be left with half a container of sour cream you bought for taco night that turned blue and fuzzy because you forgot about it but then you remembered it and decided to cook beef stroganoff to use it up and when you're almost done cooking and need to stir in the bit of sour cream you just then discovered it turned
moldy and dinner is ruined. Nope, that shouldn't happen. 


I've been turned off from these types of things for quite some time.
1) I don't want to pay for something that just requires a little planning and forethought on my part...open up all those cooking books I have and never looked at. 
B) A lot of the sample grocery lists require $50-$100 in ingredients just for the dinners, and right now I only spend $50 a week, including food for breakfast lunch and dinner and household essentials like TP. (Hahah that's my initials. I'm a household essential.) 
III) The sample plans I saw tend to be heavy on the white meats (chicken and fish) or vegetarian meals. It's like the creators think red meat is bad and assume no one wants to eat red meat on their plans because then it will ruin their "clean eating" reputation. 

**There are a wide range of subscription plans (clean eating, budget friendly, one that does a shopping list based on your local store's sales, kid friendly) so my hesitation could be completely unwarranted**

I have obtained several weeks of these plans so I thought I'd try them out. I'm not quite sure if I obtained them legally or not, they were given to me by someone who paid for the service, and most of the plans are over 2 years old. 

This week's plan was supposed to cost me $69 in ingredients...I spent $17. I either had things on hand (ground beef, onions, carrots, a watermelon...yes I happen to have watermelon on hand) or I will make a substitution (I can make dinner rolls and no one in this house likes corn salad)

That's all she wrote. No pictures of my pitiful shopping trip.

 I need a new name for my blog. Something like "awesome catchy name: how my husband is trying to ruin my Life".  

I guess that's not all she wrote because I'm still writing. It's like a phone call you don't want to end. Hang up first. No you hang up first. No you hang up. Just. Stop. 

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.