Boxes be Damned!

I have an ongoing aversion to things in boxes.  (unless you’re planning on getting me presents, in which case I don’t mind those types of things in boxes… especially things in those really pretty Tiffany blue boxes… )

Anyway, since that’s unlikely to happen, I think it’s safe to say that I have an aversion to things in boxes.  I don’t like the looks of boxes stacked up anywhere…. I know that’s what a lot of people use their basements or garages for but even then, I think that things in boxes just invites critters, bugs and anxiety.

Around last August, my friend and I went through some boxes that I had packed before I moved of clothes that didn’t fit… we looked at them, threw some definitely ugly things away and then packed it all up and put it in boxes in my spare room closet.  And ever since that day, the spare room closet has bugged me.  My toolbox (which won’t close anymore, but that’s another story) has sat precariously perched on a pile of clothes… which sat on a lidless Rubbermaid tote with all manner of miscellanea in it… which sat on an empty cardboard box.

Needless to say, anytime I needed my screwdriver or a hammer, it was a nightmare going into that closet.

On Sunday, after sleeping late and then making breakfast and putting a load of laundry in, I happened to stumble across a pair of jeans in my closet that I tried on.  They were almost two sizes too big and after a little dance of joy (I’m not a good dancer… please don’t try and picture it!) I remembered the pile.  Since the size of me is going down and the size of my irritation at the boxes of stuff in that closet is most certainly going up, I decided that the best place for those clothes to be is in my closet.  Hung up, folded nicely and waiting for wear. Why would I, a woman who hates boxes, keep beautiful clothes in boxes just because they don’t fit yet?  Good question and one I couldn’t come up with a decent answer for yesterday, so I took on a little project.  Hundreds of articles of clothing, some with the tags on were picked out of the boxes, unfolded, examined and then hung or folded up, based on the size.  I thought it would bug me to see tiny sizes of clothes that I most certainly don’t fit right now but obviously used to.  You know what?  It didn’t bug me at all.  Because every day is a journey to where you are and every day is a journey to move from that spot.  I’m moving.  I’m getting healthier and stronger with each growing minute and while I don’t particularly care to be the size and shape I am now, I don’t cower at pictures of myself or the fact that I don’t fit into my old clothes.  I’m getting there, one step at a time!

The thing about these clothes that are now hanging and folded neatly in my closet is that if I’m not careful, some of them aren’t going to get any wear.  I already see items that are the next size on my journey that will be too warm and bulky for summer and by the time winter rolls around it will be unlikely they will fit me.  I found some articles that were already too big and those have been put in a bag for the donation pile.  I have a lot of beautiful clothes… clothes with great memories, clothes that made me feel strong and empowered and the appropriate place for those is in the closet, not in a box hidden away somewhere. They need to be tried on in a somewhat regular fashion and they need to be respected, just as I am starting to respect myself.

Calculations

I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day during the week, so it was relatively simple to figure out how much I was spending. I’ve rounded some of the costs up so that the budget I make from this takes into account inflation over the next few months and if some things increase in price.  For instance, I think the Romaine hearts are a 6pk for $5.49 but I’ve rounded it up to $6. 

Breakfast in the weekday mornings consists of shredded sautéed Brussels sprouts and par steamed broccoli, topped with a homemade breakfast sausage and a semi fried egg, along with ¼ of an avocado. 

I’ve started using local ground game instead of the standard ground pork/turkey from Costco.  The sausages taste better (Buffalo is so good!) but it might turn out to be one of the places I can cut my spending. 

I made Buffalo Breakfast Sausage this week and my 500g of ground meat ($9) made 6 patties.

The eggs I buy are $7.99 for 18, so each egg works out to be 44cents.

5 Avocado from Costco are normally $5.99 but last week I got them for $4.99, so the ¼ I ate for breakfast weighs in at a whopping 25cents. Since they’re not normally on sale, I’ll calculate the ¼ using the regular price.

I use a half a bag of broccoli ($5/bag) and a half a bag of Brussels sprouts ($4) and divide the total of that into 5 meals.  That makes the Broccoli portion 50cents and the Brussels portion 40cents.

For Lunch every day I have one romaine heart (6pk for $6) topped with 3 baked chicken thighs, a handful of cherry tomatoes, 1/5 a jar of homemade Caesar salad dressing and ¼ of an Avocado.  Sometimes I have ½ a grapefruit with it.

The chicken thighs are from Costco and come about 26 to a package for about $22.  The Caesar Salad dressing costs me $3.25 to make and it lasts for a whole week.  The tomatoes come in a small clamshell for $4.49 and the Avocado is another ¼ from the daily Avocado that comes 5 to a bag for $5.99. The grapefruit come 9 to a bag for $8.99… they’re HUGE!

Breakfast Summary:

1 Sausage $1.50

1 Egg $0.44

¼ Avocado $0.30

Broccoli Sauté $0.50

Brussels Sauté $0.40 

Total Breakfast $3.14

I think if I switched back to ground turkey or ground pork from Costco I could probably save about $0.75 per patty… I don’t know if it’s worth it to switch from grass fed organic ground game to Costco portions of ground meat for a savings of $0.75 a meal.

I don’t know what a standard Paleo Breakfast is supposed to cost though… 

Lunch Summary:

 1 romaine heart $1

3 chicken thighs $2.53

1/5 jar of Caesar Salad Dressing $0.65

1/5 Clamshell of Cherry Tomatoes $0.89

¼ Avocado $0.30

½ Grapefruit $0.50 

Total Lunch $5.87

There are a couple ways I could cut back for lunch.  I currently buy the Romaine hearts but I can buy one pound of mixed spring greens that lasts a week for about $3.49.  I could also buy less expensive cherry tomatoes (I buy the heirloom multi-colored ones) and hopefully when this produce comes into season at the local farmer market I can really save some money. I think I could also buy oranges or a different type of fruit that might come out to less than $0.50 per serving.  Again, I don’t know what a standard lunch costs.  It would be reasonable to compare this salad to the Whole Foods salad I used to buy that was essentially the same thing (although with the addition of unapproved cheese, dried cranberries and really nasty (but so tasty!) dressing.  Those calculated out to approximately $12-13 per serving and I didn’t get avocado, tomatoes or a grapefruit at that price.

My breakfast and lunch combined daily total is $9.01.  

It’ll take me a little longer to figure out the dinner calculation because I make something different each week and there’s usually enough for dinners and then some to freeze, along with a lion’s share of vegetables. I will also have to factor in the can of coconut milk I use per week which is $2.69, and then I’m not sure how I’m going to cost out tea and sparkling water.  I hope with everything included I can come in well under $100 for the full 7 days (weekends will be less expensive because I don’t seem to eat as much). 

I’d be interested in any thoughts or comments about the general cost of Paleo meals, or ways in which I can make this way of eating less expensive.  If I can’t, that’s one outcome of this exercise and I’m okay with that too!  Thoughts?

Dollars to Donuts

Well… donuts are verboten so lets talk about dollars. 

I have a rule in my house that goes like this:

We don’t throw out food.

That’s it.  There is no food throwing out… if the porkchops end up dry and over cooked, that’s too damn bad because that’s what’s for dinner… All those veg that I steam and roast in anticipation of the week?  They’re all eaten and not a single shred of Brussels Sprouts goes to waste.

This is night and day compared to the food situation I’ve been involved in, in the past.  I hate to be wasteful and I really loathe taking out the garbage and emptying the compost so it’s in my best interest to eat that which I bring into the house and that which I cook.  That being said, I feel that there is room in my cooking and feeding routine to save some money.  Lots of money is saved, comparatively speaking, from when I had less control over my food environment and things were thrown out constantly, but I believe that I can sharpen up my current feeding tactics and make it cheaper and I have a great reason to try.

I’m planning on hiring a weight lifting coach here in town.  I just sent an email to him to give him some background of my story and see if his philosophy and gym fits with what I’m looking for.  I’m hoping that he will agree to take me on as a client and give me direction and plans so I can work out myself between our sessions. The rate is reasonable but in order to make it work in the budget, I need to try and get my food purchases to be more efficient.

So for 14 days I’m going to document everything I eat.  Not in oz or grams or calories, but in dollars to see where my meals can be made more cost effective and where I am already doing well (I think breakfast is pretty good).  I will then take these two typical weeks and create from them a food budget.

And you’re in luck!  I’m going to share that information here with recipes where applicable.  I already know I have some great cost saving meals and recipes, so I’m hoping that I can tweak and adjust them to make them very valuable in the consumption department and very invaluable in the monetary department.

I’ll also post back and let you know if the weightlifting coach is going to work out and share my journey on that with you.

If you have any money saving recipes or tips/tricks that you’d like to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments and feedback on the meals and expense will be appreciated too.  This will all start on Monday so I get two weeks and two weekends in the ‘study’, however since I eat a lot of the same stuff every week, I will start working on the math now.

Ssshh! Don’t Tell!

I’m generally an open book… there are not a lot of things that I keep to myself and sure as heck one of the things I find almost impossible to keep is a secret… Well, my own secrets, not ones people share with me.

See I find a secret… something so good that you want to keep it a secret SO EXCITING that I can’t help myself and I just HAVE to tell… and then I tell and tell until all the shiny and exciting bits have been rubbed and worn off and then I wish I’d never spilled the beans.

Keeping a secret is actually an art… one I’m getting much better at.  You see, the rubbing off of the shiny and exciting bits is the part that I don’t like about being a terrible secret keeper and the only way to keep the corners shiny and intact is to keep it to myself.

I have some good secrets going right now… the only problem is that because people expect me to be this open book of gabbery, generic and vague answers are very hard to sell.  I’ve been trying to change the conversation about me and my secrets back to the people who are asking because WITHOUT FAIL, people want to talk about themselves more than they care about the secret.  Try it sometime… when someone asks you a question about something that is unique to you, turn it around and ask them something and they’ll forget they were ever interested in what you were saying…

My secrets lately are of the fun and exciting variety… not to mention that it’s fun and exciting to keep secrets from certain people because it drives. them. crazy!  Yep… crazy!  I don’t think my life is really that exciting and certainly neither do a lot of people but this whole secret keeping craze I’m in right now is really messing with people’s minds!  It’s so fun!

Easy Whole 30 Chicken Curry

I like to make a ‘dinner’ item on Sunday night that I can then heat up and eat with freshly roasted or steamed veg for the weekday evenings.  Before I started my W30 endeavor in February, I wasn’t much of a cook.  It was even worse if you went back to this time last year when I would happily eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch or a bagel and cheddar cheese for dinner.  I bought my lunch almost every day, which was stressful and annoying, not to mention incredibly expensive.  Fast forward to now and I personally cook from scratch everything I eat.  I mentioned the other day to a friend that I should stop referring to myself as a bad cook because I’ve actually gotten quite good!

I have a pretty hard and fast rule about cooking and that is that I generally don’t make things that have more than ten ingredients.  Now, those ten don’t include salt and pepper, but usually I don’t even come close to the upper limit of ten, so my cooking is pretty fresh and pretty easy! I also usually only cook things that I know I can make a big batch of for left overs so that cooking during the week is a pretty uneventful ordeal.

To get inspiration for my meals, I usually go online and look at a few recipes of what I want to make and then make up my own version. I find that internet recipes are usually not seasoned the way that I like them, so when I write recipes, I expect people to take the seasonings as a guideline and often I don’t put in measurements.

That said, I’m going to share the delicious Chicken Curry that I made on Sunday. 

Leftovers

10-12 boneless,skinless chicken thighs

1 large can of diced tomatoes (check to ensure W30… dang sugar is in everything!)

1 large onion, diced

2 tbsp diced garlic (or whatever suits your taste)

1-2” of a piece of fresh ginger, grated

2-3 large handfuls of broccoli florets

1 can of coconut milk

Ground yellow curry powder

Ground cumin

Salt and Pepper

 Curry

Cover a large plate with a layer of curry powder, cumin and S&P

Coat both sides of each chicken thigh in spices.

Heat oil of choice in a non-teflon pan (I used coconut… went well with the dish but you can use EVOO) and then panfry thighs on both sides until cooked and juices run clear.

Remove chicken from pan.

Before deglazing, add ginger, garlic and chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes.

Next, add the can of diced tomatoes and the handfuls of broccoli and put the lid on.  The liquid from the tomatoes will deglaze your pan and give your sauce a lovely flavor.

While the broccoli is cooking, empty your can of coconut milk into a bowl and add in additional curry powder (I like my sauce very curry-y so I added 2-3 tbsp)

When the broccoli is cooked to your liking, add the coconut/curry mixture and cook for a few minutes.

I put this into containers in the fridge and when I’m ready for dinner, I roast some extra broccoli and throw some butternut squash into the pan with the heating chicken and sauce and then serve it all over the broccoli with some cubed cold avocado.

 curry 2

New Home!

I’m just unpacking my bags here right now in my new WordPress home and hope to get things all straightened out and as neat and tidy as I like them by the end of the evening!

I’m on a journey of sorts lately and even tho I moved over here for practical reasons, it seems that a new home and a new outlook may be just what I needed!

My last post on Blogger, which I brought over here with me just below here was about flailing around in the dirt and generally making a fool out of myself.  Now, at least no one saw that mess but me, but I’m not really interested in making that sort of mistake again.

I would tell anyone that I talked to that fear is no reason to stay in one place, getting stagnant and old… it’s true, I’m scared… terrified I think is the word I used yesterday. I wouldn’t say that this is a won battle, but I gained some power toward it today from some rather unlikely sources and a good internet friend (Hi StrongbyChoice!) I will keep fighting, keep trying and keep going… because there is really no alternative. And lucky for me, I have God on my side… I mean, really, what’s fear when you have God….

Thanks for joining me over here on WordPress… I think I like my new home 🙂

Bad Girl

Okay, it’s confession time… I ate ice cream yesterday.

I know, I know… not exactly W30 and my 2nd W30 starts again today… I had 8 days in and now I have zero days in.

If I look at it practically, it’s not really the end of the world. Everyone makes a misstep and the more important thing that the failure is how you recover from it. Whether you fall completely, laying in the dirt and flailing about, or whether you just get up, take it as a lesson and move on.
I flailed about in the dirt yesterday. I ate about four spoonfuls of the ice cream and then decided I didn’t want anymore and put it away. And then I flailed around calling myself all sorts of names and berating what a weak and useless idiot I am. Of course being a weak and useless idiot requires punishment, so to punish myself, I ate the entire rest of the pint.
The worst part was that I knew exactly what it would do to me physically… It would cause me to crave more sugar, it would set me back in my quest for another 30 days of clean living and then, it would make me tired, lethargic and chemically stoned. I slept through four alarms this morning… My stomach was hard and distended and uncomfortable and I was starving. These are all things that I have grown to not miss about poor eating habits and while I was punishing myself for my misstep, I knew these were the consequences and I did it anyway.

The guilt and self-loathing that I felt this morning was equivalent to having committed some sort of catastrophic crime and I’m afraid someone is going to find out that I’m a fraud…

I knew it, they’ll say! I knew you couldn’t do this long term! I knew that you were just putting on a show! Your ‘fringe’ (to steal my sisters word) way of eating is a sham and I knew you went home every night and ate candy and cookies and ICE CREAM!
It’s not true… it’s not true, I’d have to say back… This was just a mistake… Everyone can’t be 100% all the time… it’s not possible… I did 40 days clean! I had half a glass of wine on my vacation and then started again the next day! ON MY VACATION! Everyone deserves a break when they make a mistake, I would say…
So how come when it’s me saying those loathsome things to myself, I don’t defend myself in the same way… instead of defending myself, I agree… yes, you are weak. Yes, you are a fraud! What made you think you would be strong enough to go against society and its prescribed eating habits? Why would you do this to yourself otherwise?
Well, I know the answer… we all know the answer if we look deep inside ourselves…

My answer is that I’m terrified. I’m very happy to eat healthy and I love the results… my skin is amazing, I sleep well, my mood is stable and positive and I’m in a club of people that appreciate that kind of effort. And the physical side effects of treating my body nicely are that I’m losing weight and things are re-adjusting in my body… I’m close to having to go down another pant size and now I’m sabotaging myself because I’m terrified. The things I’m terrified of are too difficult to write here, so I won’t… I think it’s enough that I’ve opened my wounds this much today… I just know that the things I’m terrified of are real, but in order to move forward in life, I’m going to have to find a way to live in peace with them…

So today I will start new and I will get up out of the dirt and stop flailing about. I will take this as a lesson instead of a crime… I will try and quiet the voice that is calling me a bad girl in the back of my head and start reminding myself that I have abnormally beautiful skin, strong legs, a great laugh and that terrified or not, I refuse to wallow in the not so praise worthy parts of myself… and sabotaging to prevent the fear doesn’t work… I know that because less than 18 hours after the sabotage, I’m no less terrified so I’ll just have to figure out something else!