Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A simple dinner.

I forgot how good a grilled cheese with sharp cheddar and tomato is. With a handful of snow peas and a leftover slice of caarrot cake my mom brought on Sunday. Tasty!

Mexican Dinner for 6 Part Three (making the meal)

First comes the mole, then comes the guacamole then comes the tortilla chips then comes the souffle, Easy! (right?!)

I hopped (actually it took way longer than a hop, more like a bus a walk and a schlep and a bus!) to Target this morning to pick up a coffee grinder in order to pulverize my whole spices.

First step in the mole!
Boil the chicken thighs (calls for turkey but I didn't see turkey thighs at the market) in the chicken broth with 2 bay leaves and for 1 hour. During that hour, make the rest of the mole ingredients! Good luck!

Just kidding. :)

In 2 Tbsp of canola (or vegetable oil) toast your peanuts and almonds; at the last second toss in the sesame seeds to be lightly toasted. Don't over do it! burned nuts are no good! Set aside.

Heat up a dry pan on medium heat, toss in the anise seed, cinnamon stick, whole allspice and whole black peppercorns and heat- stirring until fragrant. Use a coffee bean grinder or mortar and pestle and grind up the spices until very fine.

The chicken has been cooking for almost an hour at this point. Remove form the heat and let the chicken cool in the broth mixture for 30 minutes. Set the chicken aside and keep the broth handy.

While the chicken is cooling, now is the time to prep the chips! Take your corn tortillas, smear a little oil on them (I don't have a pastry brush so I used my fingers) then cut the stack into quarters or sixths. Lay on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and set aside.

Chop tomatoes and combine with soaked chilis and onions (prepped the day before) and toasted nut mix and spices in food processor. Add some chicken broth from the pan and blend until you have a smooth paste. I probably could have blended longer for a finer texture, but I was more interested in being able to fit it all into my little food processor. Be sure you can fit it all if not divide everything into 2 and make 2 batches which you can then mix together.

In another large saucepan, pour some vegetable oil and dump the contents from the food processor in and sautee "until the fat starts rising to the top, about 20 minutes". I don't think I waited for that to happen. Then add in the chocolate, the most infamous ingredient in mole! Once the chooclate was melted, I slowly added chicken stock to the sauce then ignored my instinct and added all the remaining stock like the recipe said. I do not advise this! If you have eated something before that you are making and you are somewhat familiar with it... follow your instincts or look it up online! (I do that whenever I come up with something to cook, just to see if it's been done before). Once the sauce is well stirred and combined you can push it through a sieve for a smoother sauce, or line up your chicken thighs in a 9x13 and pour the sauce over the top. Put in the over at 325 for 1 1/2 hours.

While that is cooking, you can make your guacamole! I left the avocados double paper-bagged on the windowsill. I chose avocados as ripe as I could get the day before and they were perfect the next day! I scooped out the flesh with a spoon into a bowl and began mashing with a fork which proved difficult so I stepped up to a pastry blender! It worked wonderfully! Then I stirred in the previously prepped ingredients (sans chili pepper) and pushed a plastic wrap directly on the surface of teh guac and placed it in the fridge. Placing the plastic directly on (and pushing out air bubbles) prevents oxidization which makes your beautiful green avaocado turn brown.

When the timer on your dinner says 30 minutes, put your first tray of chips in on the bottom rack (or both if you have more than one rack) and bake for about 15 minutes- they shoudl be crisp rather than limp when you slide them off the sheet and sprinkle some sea salt onto them. Trust me, your guests wil be awesed that they are having fresh tortilla chips. And it is way to easy for you that have any excuse not to do it again. The tortilla chips cost $1.19. If I'd gone with the giant pack, Mexican brand we'd have had maybe 4 times as many chips, but I didn't want leftovers. It is a lot cheaper than buying chips that are already made- and you have control over how much and what kind of oil is used. Control is good when it comes to what you are putting in your body.

When there are 15 minutes left on the timer, it's time to prepare the quinoa, according to the package directions. Bring 2 cups of water for every 1 cup quinoa to boil (all at the same time) and cover. Let it boil for about 15 minutes (then take your chicken out of the oven! Dinner for 6 is such a choreographed dance.) Then serve!

Change the oven to 350 (whatever the souffle recipe says the temp needs to be)

About 10 minutes into dinner, remove the souffle form the fridge and put in the oven, set the timer for 25 minutes. The souffle was tasty, it wasn't cooked all the way through and it didn't rise very high but it became something like the combination of a pot de crem and a flourless chocolate cake. The souffle was served with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. The spice mixture that was used was mostly tasted afterwards- a slight chili burning senesation that remained in your throat after you'd finished your dessert. That Dagoba hot chocolate mix was intense as a drink. I think it's an excellent concept for a souffle but the exact amounts of spices has yet to be explored.

  • Follow your instincts in the kitchen
  • When a recipe tell you to put in all of something that's left, in particular after it's been cooking a while, question how much they expected it to reduce
  • Don't make a souffle the night before if you want it to puff up. It might be possible to make the chocoalte portion and set the eggwhites and chocolate mixture in the fridge until the next day. Then you would take both out to get to room temperature, and then follow the directions from that point on.
  • Keep track of spending and keep an eye on cheaper options for different ingredients. The bagged mexican spices are cheaper than the organic or small glass jar ones.
  • If you have access to bulk foods use them. You ingredients will be fresher and you can only buy what you need/ will use in the nearby future.
  • Buy a coffee grinder if you want the freshest spices possible. It was easy to crush the spices and they were very fragrant and fresh. Even after washing the platic lid though, it smelled of spices. So I wouldn't recommend interchanging coffee and spices unless you want them to all intermingle.
  • Have more dinner parties and push what you try to make and keep track of recipes and the cost of ingredients. This meal was about $7.80 per person, (less if you count that there was once piece of chicken left over). For an appetizer, main dish and dessert.

oh jeans, how I loathe you

The problem with loving to bake and trying to perfect a chocolate chip cookie recipe is all the calories. My jeans (freshly washed and line dried so slightly shrunken) didn't fit this morning. I have been horrible at eating well save the nights KE and I cook together and make a full correct meal (meat,veggie, starch). I need, once again, to reevaluate what I'm eating. My favorite days are days that I bring veggies to snack on. Today I have red grapes, baby carrots and snow peas. I can fill up on those. I didn't have breakfast- the morning bagel, tasty as it is, is probably not the best way to keep a caloric budget. Not to mention that some mornings it is just too hard to get up early to eat breakfast (let alone exercise). I think this summer, when I'm working outside and on my feet all day, I will be bound to loose weight so long as I don't use it as an excuse to binge on unhealthy food all day. I've already looked up the farmer's market for the area I'll be staying and have been figuring out what kitchen things I will take with me. I think I just decided that I won't be taking any baking supplies. It'll be summer- I will have no excuse for not eating fresh fruits and veggies for those 3 months. I'll be keeping track of that on this site so hopefully we'll ass see some progress!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mexican Dinner for 6 Part Two (prep!)

Day before prep:
Chop finely 1/4 of a white onion, 2 medium tomatoes (seeded), approximately 1/4 c. cilantro and 2 (smallish) cloves of garlic. Add juice of 2 limes. Hopefully your limes have more juice than the ones I had. I scraped out the little football shaped lime bits that stick out like fringe after reaming and added them to the mix. I only just bought the avocados today so they are in a brown paper bag ripening as much as they can before tomorrow.

Day of finishing:
Remove flesh of 3 avocados in bowl, stir it all together add salt and a splash lime juice to taste.

Pause for banana bread:

Chocolate Souffles

I've read that souffles can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours- so I decided to make these ahead as well (after cleaning up the banana bread I made earlier this evening - a great way to use over ripe bananas! You can even get them for free :-) sometimes from your local health food store if they have brown banana on the shelf .)

To make these spicy I'm using some Dagoba Xocolatl mix in the souffle prep. The hot chocolate was too intense for me but if I use 1 oz of this mix as one of the 6 oz of chocolate the recipe calls for I think it will be a nice hint of spice instead of overwhelming burning spice. We'll see!

In a heat proof bowl set over top of a saucepan filled with water (double boiler)- don't let the water touch the bottom of your bowl!:
5 oz chopped 72% dark chocolate 1 oz Dagoba Xocolatl mix a dash of cinnamon 6 Tbps butter 2 Tbsp water ( or rum or coffee- neither of which I have on hand)

Turn on heat until the chocolate starts melting and the butter is completely melted. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes.

While that is cooling separate
4 eggs tossing (or saving for later) 1 yolk. Whip the egg whites in a clean and dry bowl until foamy. Add
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

and mix more. When you have soft peaks that aren't dry (this is something I think you learn from trial and error and carefully watching the sheen of your whites as you mix them) slowly whip in
1/4 cup of sugar.
(I used a little less sugar because the hot chocolate mix already had sugar in it.)

Smear butter on the bottom and up the sides (and inch from the top) of your 1-1/2 quart souffle dish. Sprinkle sugar in and swish around to cover all the buttered surfaces. (The sugar grains on the side of the pan help the souffle climb up the sides of the dish.)

Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture. You don't want to stir is because then you will pop all the little bubbles that give your souffle volume! (Or else you pretty much have a flourless chocolate cake and why would you go through the trouble of whipping the eggs whites if you wanted that!?) Be aure there aren't any (or very minimal) streaks of white and pour the souffle mix into your prepared dish. Cover in plastic wrap immediatly and put in fridge. We'll see tomorrow if the air bubbles actually stay! I've made souffles a handful of times before but never tried making it the day before.

It's been a busy evening, but it will make tomorrow less hectic while I'm trying to make mole!

KE is running a bit late so I did a little more prep!
For the mole you get dried chilies which you remove the stem and seeds from and soak for 30 minutes, so I'm doing that now. I will pop them in the fridge after I drain them so they will be ready to go tomorrow. If I have more time I might chop some veggies but I want to be ready to go when KE gets here.

Also, something I rarely do but am learning I ought to do more often for dinner parties and gatherings. I made a schedule for meal prep! (This is a little post-it- yes I write small!) Based on the time it will take to cook things and including some prep time- I didn't account for the guacamole but that should only take 10 minutes or so which I can do while the mole bakes for 90 minutes!)

Mexican Dinner for 6 Part One


Chips and guacamole
chicken thighs in mole
Spiced chocolate souffles

Part One: Ingredients

For Mole:
Chicken Broth - Low Sodium 2@1.89 $3.78
Bakers chocolate unsweetened $2.57
Blanched Almonds $2.37
Anise Seeds $0.48
Allspice - whole $1.67
Murray's Chicken Thighs (3pkgs) $7.58
Sweet Onion $0.45
Plum Tomatoes 1.2# $2.16
Dried Chile Mulatos $1.49
Peanuts $2.49
Quinoa $5.89
cinnamon stick (have)
black peppercorns (have)
Canola Oli (have)

For the Guacamole and chips:
Cilantro $1.09
Tomatoes 1.6#- a few too many $2.91
3 Hass Avocados $2.73
garlic $0.30
2 limes $0.53
White corn tortillas $1.19
White Onion $0.71
jalapeno (forgot!)
vegetable oil (have)

For the Souffles:
eggs (have)
dark chocolate (have)
spices (have)
sugar (bought in bulk.97#) $1.10
Vanilla ice cream $3.50

TOTAL spent $47.49

The recipes are from the following books but they are adapted based on availability of ingredients and personal preferences:
Mole: Starting with Ingredients
Guacamole: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (thanks dad!)
Tortilla Chips: Food Network Website
Souffle: The Joy of Cooking (75th anniversary)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Getting ready to move... three times

I (my mom) got (me) a used car 2 days ago! Then I had to go about getting insurance. I got quotes online from Progressive and Geico. Geico was much cheaper and their customer service was very helpful. Here's hoping I don't have to deal with them again! (fingers crossed for safe driving!). I've never taken care of this stuff before because when I drove in high school it was my mom's car and she took care of that stuff. Now it's like I'm a real adult. Car insurance. Moving expenses.

I have also been pricing out moving truck rental, cargo van rental, cost of staying in my apartment for one month more, benefits (and deciding to give up my chocolate chip cookie recipe) to move in with KE. Talking to the electric company, roommates, finding a replacement, shopping around, seeking an apartment in a city that I am not in and won't be for several months.

So May will be staying with KE (in Brooklyn), June - August in Vermont and August - May in Ithaca. It's going to be interesting living in Vermont and Ithaca after 8 years in Brooklyn, that's for sure!

All I can really say is thank technology for Internet and free long distance calls on cell phones. Oh and spreadsheets. I love spreadsheets!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A snack approach to lunch

This is the snack plate approach. Or the bulk food approach, however you care to approach it. Today I have been munching on organic animal crackers purchase din bulk at the food co-op and now for "lunch" I am having a green bell pepper (cut up with my small Swiss army knife in the bathroom while precariously balanced on the edge of the sink), a handful of snow peas (washed by filling the bag with water, sloshing it around and then dumping it out a couple times, and a small carton of organic blueberries. Staying at KE's two nights in a row which his tiny and packed fridge makes bringing lunch difficult (have I mentioned the lack of a kitchenette at work? It forces creativity within boundaries, for example: room temperature or Thermos capable foods. The best dinner we had in recent memory was one where simple ingredients were cooked just enough and seasoned just a little and brought out the delicious flavors of the essence of good ingredients. It was like the snack approach, just cooked!

I picked up these things while grabbing groceries for last nights dinner (a stir fry of onion, red pepper, yellow pepper, snow peas fried tofu and white jasmine rice). I'm not that into stir fry so I just kept my mouth shut and let KE make it how he pleased. It was delicious and quick! His trick was to (tell me to) get firm tofu (extra firm if you can) then put it on a plate and cover it with another plate and set a squash on top of it to squeeze out excess water. Then fried in a bit of oil and added to the stir fry. It was delicious, I never though I'd like tofu that much, I expected squishy cubes like in miso soup. It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised that you do like something you didn't think you liked!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


A handful of Snow peas
grilled cheese on whole wheat bread
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (Pacific Foods)

Yes packaged soup, but sometimes that's all you have the energy for!
This way I have time to plan my grocery store trip and soup choice!

And I'm watching a documentary on Julia Child.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Planning for the week

Trying this planning thing again...

grocery shopping, make cookies for Sun and fresh pasta for Wed
eat Pad Thai leftovers for lunch
for dinner grilled cheese and roasted pepper and tomato soup (pkg)

fruit and yogurt and granola
snacks at party
make soup for the week

cereal breakfast
Sandwich: deli meat (if it's still good), avocado, cucumber, mustard
bring apple snack and cookies

yogurt and fruit breakfast
take soup for lunch
bring apple and peanut butter snack

cereal breakfast
sandwich for lunch - chicken, avocado or cheese, cucumber, mustard
dinner: pasta with fresh pesto and smoked salmon (with KE)

smoothie breakfast with oats in it
soup for lunch
leftovers/ frozen stuff for dinner
plan meals for the next 5 days

A Tuesday night dinner

This was the most awesome meal I've had in a while. The best part is how simple it was!

Seared bay and sea scallops (picked up at the farmer's market on Saturday)
Sauteed snow peas with one clove of chopped garlic in olive oil
Steamed acorn squash with salt, pepper and butter.

Overall prep time was less than 30 minutes. Cooking instructions for the squash were located on a sicker on it. Cut the squash in half, seed it, and make cuts on the back with a knife (4 or 5). Pour 1/4cup water onto a (deep) plate and set the acorn halves face down. Cook in microwave for 8-10 minutes (we did 8, then checked).

For dessert we had sme ice cream. It was a fresh, quick and fantastic meal!

The past week

I tried budgeting with cash this week and it didn't work. I think it is because I got the cash at the beginning of the weekend. Week-End! I should be getting my cash on Monday and then spending it and whatever I have left at the week's end is what I can spend for entertainment/ going out/ drinks/ whathaveyou. The 100$ I took out last Saturday barely lasted me until Tuesday. I went grocery shopping, had a BBQ, failed at using my chimney starter, had to buy lighter fuel. I had tiring days in which I just wanted to go out, I spend many evenings with KE which made having breakfast difficult, I overslept and only went running once. I've also been very mentally busy trying to prepare for this summer at Yestermorrow, moving out of my place, trying to figure out who will take my room and if I'll come back next summer, what to do with my furniture, where to live in Ithaca when I head there in the Fall, and what to eat for lunch. Oh, and I bought a guitar and a guitar playing book. (To keep myself occupied this summer between reading and jumping into lakes and building stuff.)

I've been getting so bored with buying lunch, after the week of making my own lunch, in midtown. I stumbled upon Midtown Lunch an wandered to a couple new places, but still. I'd prefer to be eating things I made. I had planned to heat up left over Pad Thai and put it in a warmed up thermos but I was warned that the noodles would turn to mush because they wouldn't stop cooking. I didn't want to waste tasty Pad Thai (which is a good deal for me. $6.95 with chicken and it lasts me at least two meals from Thai 101- best reheated in a skillet on the stove- tastes way better than reheating in a microwave)

I'd better get back to filing taxes so I can afford my summer plans and filling out the FAFSA so I'm not homeless when I get to Ithaca! This weekend I'm having a crafting get together (crafting alone can be so boring!) and I'm also going grocery shopping. Let's see if I can't get my home cooked meals back in shape. Soup anyone?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This is hard

I'm trying. I took $100 cash out to last the week. I only had about $30 by yesterday. Staying at KE's doesn't help. Or even when he stays here, because I don't force myself to prepare lunch for the next day. Also the lack of a kitchen at work is frustrating because I can't bring leftovers. I splurged (sort of, it's $6 and lasts like 3 meals) on pad thai at Thai 101 on Tuesday.
This summer, living off savings, will be the true test. I can't just put stuff on the credit card because there will be no income to make sure it's paid off the next month. Also lunch is a bitch. I was enjoying bringing my lunch for the week that I actually did it.
I'm reminded of a Chinese proverb I think I read on some tea. "Failing isn't falling, it's not getting back up again" or something more eloquently written along the same line. So next week, try, try again! Meanwhile trying to be thrifty, tomorrow will be hard because it's my best friends birthday and I can't let her in her unemployed state pay for her birthday dinner! That would be blasphemous! Hopefully the whole group will chip in as has been the trend in the past however recessions make people do abnormal things.

The free exercise has been going alright. Running in the park is nice, if I can get myself up to do it. Yesterday morning? I couldn't make it happen. I'm trying again tomorrow and now I'm going to sleep so I don't leave my running buddy again! (I found a running buddy on Craiglist, I needed someone to meet so I'd feel obligated to show up! It worked better when I didn't have his phone number and therefore couldn't cancel on him!)

Next week: Home cooking challenge week 2! Which means meal planning this weekend. The goal, aside from saving money, will this time also include not buying more than I need/ can eat. Which may include more grocery store trips, but that is better than one grocery trip and a fridge full of uneaten food that has to be tossed.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Cleaning!

After KE told me that he killed a cockroach with a Seventh Generation cleaning product I started thinking more about my household cleaners. I buy and use "earth friendly" products but I feel like it would be even more earth friendly to use more natural things- vinegar and baking soda are supposed to clean stuff.

We got a new stove not too long ago and my landlord said "Now you be sure to keep that clean, that's part of the security deposit." (Which my roommate later said, "is that in writing?" I hope she plans to help keep it clean :P ) I was looking at the stove that hadn't been cleaned or even wiped off since the last time I did it and decided to scrub the heck out of it.
I started by removing all the burners (this is a gas stove- I used to be afraid of them having grown up with electric and now I wonder what I'll do if we don't have gas anymore :( Maybe a fire pit) and placing them in the sink to soak for a bit just with water- to soften what gunk could be softened. Then I used my sponge to wipe off the big chunks. (like sweeping before you mop. You know that's what you're supposed to do, right!?)

I did a bit of online research and read about a baking soda and water paste 1:1. That failed miserably. The baking soda sat at the bottom of the measuring cup and when I tried to pour some out all the water on the top came out. I think it's more accurate to say a splash of water with some baking soda. So while I used a bit of this baking soda mixture poured onto the stains and then the soft yellow side of the sponge and a lot o scrubbing and fingernail scratching, i got the stove top to be pretty clean.

When I was in London staying with my friend N, he and his girlfriend had foil (shiny side up) under the burners on their stove and I was so excited by it's brilliance! Now, a mere 3 months later and I finally did it to my stove. After it was all clean and shiny, I ripped of foil sheets the length to cover each pair of burners. Pressing down I was able to mark where the burner elements are and then used my exact-o knife to cut open the tightest hole I could in the foil. (I'm an architect... precision is pretty.) Then I ripped off the foil edges that spilled out of the burner depressions for a nice tidy foil liner- which also doubles as a reflector making the stovetop even more efficient!

It's already been used since I put down the foil but now the part that gets the hottest and is most likely to having spills and mistakes get burned in is covered up and ought to be easy to clean up!

I did have to use some of my Seventh Generation all-purpose cleaning spray to get the gunk off the burners. My method is to put a paper towel over the affected area, spray cleaner fluid on it until it's soaked, let it sit for a bit, then wipe it off. The soaking really helps get out deep stains. Hopefully you were enticed rather than bored by my stovetop cleaning saga and find a way to keep yours clean (saide from washing it every time you cook... which would probably work even better!)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

snack time (or post dr. visit lunch before heading to work.

Apple with chunky natural peanut butter! Yum!

I heard yesterday that I was accepted to my first choice school, which means i will in fact be living in Vermont this summer at Yestermorrow . My tuition and housing are covered but food and gas money are not. So these practices (and the blog!) shall help and extend to my summer eating activities. Hopefully I will be able to purchase a lot of fresh foods. I imagine I won't be eating a lot of meats so that I'm eating cheaper. I still need to get the scoop on the kitchen availability... and if I will be able to bake cookies there. Hm, perhaps I can go to a shop that sells things in bulk and buy just enough flour and sugar for cookies and not have extras to deal with while I'm living in a screened in cabin (my mom vetoed me staying in tent... I thought it would be fun for a summer!).

Totally unrelated: KE is awesome, he got me a whistling kettle! My previous kettle didn't whistle and I was distracted by a movie the other day and burnt it pretty badly when the water cooked off and I remembered it about halfway into my movie!

Now that I'm done with my apple snack and doctor's appointment it's time to get to work!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

So I failed to bring lunch... or eat breakfast at home

Everything bagel toasted with cream cheese and a small hot chocolate

3 potato samosas from the Cafe Spice in Grand Central Terminal

Celebratory bag of M&Ms (I got into my first choice grad school!)
$3.78 (Easter colors, they were cheaper than regular by 50 cents!)

$10.26 Total

All paid for with my spare change, cause I'm not taking out anymore cash until I have it to take out!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What can I make when I don't want to buy anything? OR Pantry Fun!

My freezer is pretty full. In fact, so is my pantry. I always have stuff on hand which I think comes from having parents a) who grew up post depression b) aware that we lived in an earthquake zone (emergency supply) and c) who had a Costco membership. Since beginning to live on my own I've always stocked up on food. At the end of my home cooing challenge last week I realized this may be to my detriment, at least when it comes to produce. I bought the 1# bag of mixed greens because it was cheaper than paying per weight. However if I don't use all the greens then that's money I could have not spent as the price difference wasn't that great.

The thing that has saved me through this over-purchase of produce is these green bags I got at Whole Foods that apparently advertises on TV as well (I don't really watch V... I think I'm going to sell mine). So far they have worked really well compared to produce that can barely make it to the end of the week the fruit and veggies are still fresh. I failed to put the mixed greens in one of these bags,

I am heating up a cheese and spinach filo pie from my freezer which is from Trader Joes. I was contemplating cooking something else, however my kitchen ceiling began leaking again despite having the roof recently having been replaced and the temperature not dipping below freezing all day... Well... this is not a good development.

So, assuming I have an active kitchen in the next week without a puddle in the middle of my kitchen...

B: yogurt and berries and honey and granola, oh my!
L: salad (if the lettuce is still good), with smoked salmon and peas
D: with KE, ginger chicken and yam fries and broccoli

B: cereal and smoothie
L: Left over Moroccan Chicken Soup with couscous
D: Make dinner with Erin (tbd)

B: cereal and milk
L: sandwich (do I have bread? Hmm... figure out)
D: Heat up left overs before food co-op shift.

I'm distracted by the dripping in the kitchen.

Need to bring lunch again...

Pret, albeit it yummy, is expensive, especially when compared to my last week of bringing homemade lunch everyday.
Today cost $9.38 for my hot chocolate, Moroccan lentil Soup and tasty fatty sweet lemon orange poppy seed muffin (that I love, Mmmmm).

Yikes, no wonder I hardly have any savings with lunch prices in midtown being so high. I'm thinking I need to bring a hot beverage container as well (That makes 3 total metal canisters on days I bring soup!). It's so cold in our office even when the heat is on. It also shuts of at 6:04pm (why, I do not know) and gets cold really quickly. The weather when I checked a bit ago was 18 F, and I'm pretty sure that's taken at ground level. I'm on the 37th floor, I need a hot beverage to keep me toasty at the end of the day!

Definitely bringing lunch tomorrow. Psht. ten dollars!

Home Cooking Challenge: week 1

Bringing lunch everyday last week worked pretty well. I ate well (a lot of veggies!) and I ended the week with a slice of pizza. I managed to make breakfast all but one morning (last minute decision to go to KE's on Tuesday night didn't really have time to plan for what I was going to do for breakfast). And the purchase of pizza fridge night because I wanted to have time to work on my baby quilt project.

Now that I'm in a week without that goal, I have purchased breakfast once and lunch twice (counting today) and I miss my homemade lunches. I know where the ingredients came from (more so than from the restaurant anyhow). I did finally make chocolate chip cookies this weekend and they were phenomenal and now I am working on selling them. (They won't be up until at least this upcoming weekend however, please check again!)

Last night I went to half of the Moth show about penny pinching. The stories were entertaining, though a couple felt like a stretch for the theme. It was interesting to hear one guy's story about a Christmas without gifts. I only stayed for half because it is ridiculously cold outside right now and I have been trying to go to sleep at a reasonable hour so that I can wake up early and have "me time" before work. Returning home we were greeted by a sink of dishes left from the hotpot party on Saturday that hadn't been cleaned yet. Let me tell you peanut butter sauce left in the sink for 2 days smells horrible. After washing, twice, the smell still wasn't out. I poured some vinegar (and baking soda!) in and we'll see tonight how it smells!

Off to buy lunch and wish I'd brought it. Tonight I'm free and I plan to assemble some lunches for the rest of the week.