Boy this week really flew by! I am working second shift, doing phone tax advice, and the early part of the day before I log in, sometimes becomes a fog. Since I work from my office above the restaurant, I have become somewhat of a hermit from Sunday to Thursday, coming out on Friday morning blinking and rubbing my eyes. My car seldom moves from its spot on Main Street and the only trip I make out is to get the mail.
I do get in daily yoga and a walk. The walk has been relegated to my treadmill, which for winter is making its home in the dining room of the restaurant. Lucky for me, my lovely studio space overlooks the Mississippi River and has a small electric fireplace in it as well. It is a pleasant place to spend time.
I invested in a small crock pot this last weekend, and I made good use of it! On Monday, I made a pot of pinto beans on the stove in the restaurant. The first night, I had bean burritos made with my homemade corn tortillas and some tomatoes and lettuce from the fridge, with green salsa. I took the balance of the beans, with some quinoa, tomatoes, water and spices (cayenne pepper, adobo peppers, salt, garlic and onion powder) and I put it in my little crock pot. All week long, that little crock pot kept me fed. I added things some days. A slice of cheese here, some crackers there, a small salad with avocado, or steamed vegetables, but lunch and dinner became pretty standard. The little variances made it seem like something new each day.
I did the daily smoothie from my leftover “whatever” in the fridge. Each day included at least a half an apple, a bit of ginger, some lemon juice and then whatever vegetables I could scavenge. There was some celery, wrinkly tomatoes, the bag of spinach I had gotten for 99 cents on the clearance table (organic spinach!!). I also have a bunch of bananas in my freezer that I bought for 19 cents a pound when they were brown. If you can get your hands on them that way, buy them, peel them immediately and freeze them in halves for smoothies!
We splurged last night since we had spent zero dollars on groceries the week before. We stopped at the coop because we were both in the mood for a little ice cream. If I am going to have ice cream, I want the real stuff. We purchased a half gallon of organic real ice cream. Yes, it was $7.50, but since it will last us for a couple of weeks if we ration it to small portions, it is an ok investment. We also purchased some organic butter cookies, licorice and some ginger candy. Our entire bill for our little extravangance was about $30, which still keeps us very well on budget for the week.
This morning, we indulged in organic eggs, whole wheat pancakes and a slice of our own uncured bacon. Amazing breakfast for less than $1.00 per serving. Steve saves the bacon grease to use all week for his cooking. There is nothing like a chicken thigh or refried beans cooking in a touch of bacon grease. This grease, from our own naturally raised pigs gives amazing flavor to anything cooked in it.
Steve subsisted this last week on pork chops, potatoes, beans, his bag of spinach and left over veggies. He also did a few smoothies this week.
We started on February 17th, so we have about 10 days left in the challenge. I am going to work hard to continue this frugal way of eating as we move forward. I feel better, some of my cravings have gone away, and I am finding that I eat less overall since starting this. I also have a few take aways, such as, not needing K-cups for my Keurig! Fresh ground coffee in a reusable tastes great, and saves a ton of money. Going meatless unless I can use what we grow or what is grown organically by someone else is easy once you realize how much better the good stuff tastes. Eating out has lost its luster. I can do so much more at home with spices, why bother?
Steve started our tomatoes and peppers in the house this week, and the baby goats are growing like mad. Hoping to add some really local stuff (grown in our backyard?) to the menu this year!
Oh, and one more thing. The next challenge is in the works. I plan to spend July at the cabin. Living off what I can grow with minimal “staple items”. I will come out of the valley on Friday-Sunday to run the restaurant and to blog about the week. That will be a FAR bigger challenge than the food challenge is….