Sunday, March 24, 2019

Fridge/Freezer Challenge Update

On Sundays I always spend part of my morning prepping my work lunches for the week.  I pack a lunch every day, and I usually eat the same thing most days, so it's much easier for me to just whip up a bunch of lunches on Sunday and then put what I need in a bag every morning as I head out the door.  Lately, I've been obsessed with a salad of chopped romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, Quorn Chik Patties diced up (I'm vegetarian), and ranch dressing.  I had one heart of romaine left, which made me two lovely salads for this week.  I had originally thought I might buy some more romaine, but looking at the other things I had in the fridge/freezer, I decided to not do that and be a bit more creative instead.

Two yummy salads
Also worth mentioning--those little colored containers that I use for salad dressing are AMAZING.  I got them at TJ Maxx for something like $3 for four, and they are so handy. I also saw them at Old Navy recently, which was pretty random.  They hold just the right amount, and the lids click into place.  I love it when a somewhat impulsive purchase turns out to be so useful.

In addition to those salads, I had half a bag of brussels sprouts to use up, and some frozen broccoli.  The broccoli is currently roasting in the oven at 425 with some olive oil, S&P, minced garlic and red pepper flakes.  I plan to pair that with some farro, and either bring it for lunch or have it on hand for dinner.  I think I have about two servings currently cooking.

For the brussels sprouts, one of my favorite things to do is shred them so I can have them as a salad.  You shred them in a food processor, and then cook them slightly in about 1/2 cup of water--just to get the bitterness out and soften them a bit.  Then, once they've cooled, I'm going to toss them with some Trader Joes Steamed Lentils, which I already have, some blue cheese crumbles, reduced sugar craisins and balsamic vineagrette.  That's something I can either pack for lunch or have at home for dinner.

I have five work lunches, five weeknight dinners and three days of eating when I'm not at work.  I have plenty of other random foods I can cook up at home, and the fridge is looking delightfully empty!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Pre-Vacation Scheming

I love a good scheme for saving money.  I especially love a scheme that allows me to save money in advance of something expensive and fun like my upcoming vacation.  Splashing out after a period of austerity is so thoroughly satisfying that it almost makes me look forward to the austerity itself.  So my plan to reduce spending and earn a wee bit of cash in advance of my travels includes:

  1. Eating from the pantry 95% of the time.  I have plenty of food, so I plan to eat it and avoid going to the grocery store almost entirely.  I have exactly three things that I will need to buy (romaine lettuce, cottage cheese and coffee creamer), but other than that, I'm staying away.  I've done an inventory of what's in the house, and I don't even think my meals will get too weird.  I have plenty of frozen vegetables on hand, and a pantry full of dry goods.  I'm set!
  2. No trips to the liquor store.  Currently I have some beer, some wine and some gin for my Friday night martini (it's important!).  I'm not allowed to buy any more than that, which leads to bullet point three...
  3. Lose some weight. I plan to accomplish this by drinking less, eating more deliberately and exercising more.  I'm not happy with the fact that if I don't lose weight before I go, I will be rather uncomfortable on my trip since my jeans are not currently fitting the way I'd like, and I refuse to buy a bigger pair.  I also want to make sure there's room in said pants for me to eat and drink merrily while I'm away.
  4. I am on a general spending freeze for the foreseeable future, except for buying gas, getting a much-needed haircut, and writing a check to the cat-sitter.
  5. Hopefully utilities will be cheaper since it's FINALLY starting to warm up a bit.
In addition to saving money, I'm trying to find a little extra cash lying around.
  1. I listed three LL Bean gift cards that we had gotten for christmas on  I wasn't able to sell them for the full value, obviously, but it was super painless and I got a decent amount of cash for them (think 45.90 on a $60 giftcard, or $50 in Amazon credit).  I'd much rather have cash than have to try to think of what to buy at LL Bean. It's not that I don't like that store, it's just not my go-to.
  2. I returned two dresses. I love a refund.
  3. I'm trying to walk and run more (see above), which is something I've been able to monetize--slightly.  I have the Achievement app on my phone, which awards me points for taking steps (tracked by my fitbit).  Once I get to 10,000 points, I get $10. I also did a stepbet recently, which helped me get my ass in gear and be more active, and netted me a cool $9.65.  All that extra money goes into my money market savings account, which earns me 2% interest.
The countdown is on!