Tuesday, February 3, 2009

pretty major simplicity update ... guess i'm on a roll here.

hey, everyone ...

i have so much to say i just had to pop my head in here again! when i posted the other day, i forgot to mention that someone is opening a "Zen" teahouse ... right in my neighborhood ... soon! i can't wait.

1. i've started making a weekly menu plan, as other bloggers i read have been doing, too (libby and lydia come immediately to mind). here's a sample, from this week: (the breakfast part also helps give me yet another reason to shove out of bed in the morning in that quest for morning-person-dom (i've been doing better with that, by the way, but results are widely varied, from waking up two hours before i need to leave the house to the more frequent average of 50 minutes and still finding i'm rushing somewhat the last 20 minutes, but it's a vast improvement over waking in a shocked stupor to see how late it is, dressing, and running, hitting the coffeeshop on the way and skipping breakfast entirely). oh yeah, the sample, which i'm actually trying to follow: (imagine plenty of water, various teas, and grape juice mixed in between these)

Monday (yesterday): breakfast -- coffee, smoothie with soymilk, blueberry soy yogurt, wheat germ, banana

lunch -- homemade pea soup with lowfat organic (okay let's just know for a fact that 99.999 percent of what i list here is homemade/organic, so i don't have to be repetitive) yogurt spooned on top. i also had a vegan salad with sesame seeds and homemade vegan dressing (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, spicy mustard and lemon juice)

dinner -- chickpea stew with Quinoa, large portion. Quinoa flavored with onion and spices.

snack -- chickpea stew (just 1/2 a bowl)

Tuesday: breakfast -- egg with mushrooms, banana, OJ, coffee, two of Rhonda's cranberry-walnut scones (even though my oven overcooked them! grr)

lunch -- leftover tempeh/veggie pizza, 2 slices, and a vegan salad with vegan dressing and sesame seeds

dinner -- veggie (masala) burger, refried beans with green salsa mixed in, and a 1/4 bowl of a soba noodle/edamame dish i made for later in the week. i'm stuffed.

snack -- decaf soy gingerbread latte (coffeehouse)

Wednesday (tomorrow): breakfast -- coffee, stove-cooked oatmeal with raisins, wheat germ, and honey drizzle

lunch -- chickpea stew

dinner -- cold soba noodles with edamame (smaller portion of the 2 i made), banana


Thursday: breakfast -- coffee, smoothie with lowfat yogurt, soymilk, banana, peanut butter

lunch -- pea soup with yogurt spooned on top, and a vegan salad with vegan dressing and sesame seeds

dinner -- eat at Ray's (coffeeshop where knitting club is held). For $3.99 I can get an AMAZING Vegan grilled cheese and avocado sandwich.

Friday: breakfast -- coffee, tofu stir-fry with spices and red pepper, scones, banana

lunch -- cold soba with edamame (bigger portion)

dinner -- tofu and coconut milk soup with canned mushrooms and scallions, and curry powder.

Saturday and Sunday: use up leftover tofu (or eat leftover soup!), cook for next week. recipes to try: sweet and sour seitan, and middle eastern lentils and spinach (courtesy of one of my new cookbooks, which you can see atop my shelf in previous pictures i posted)

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading (or at least skimming) ... moving on,

2. I've started a food/staples log, which so far looks like this:

Sunday, 2/1. Kroger, $11. OJ, TP (4 rolls), 1 can garbanzos, bananas, applesauce

Tuesday, 2/3. Rainbow Blossom, $7, toasted sesame oil

I'm hoping this will help keep my wild spending impulses in check once I see where that "stomach money" is actually going. Maybe I'll add bar/restaurant/takeout purchases to it, too? Not that I plan on that often ... but, you know, i live in a more urban area and well, sometimes that's life right now as a singleton.

3. My stockpiling is going well. It took a while, as many on here, such as Rhonda, have said will happen, but I'm fairly well stocked with all the kitchen essentials (scallions, soy sauce, lemon juice, sugars, flours, spices, etc.)Finally, I'm starting to be able to do most recipes I'm interested in ... without shopping much, if at all. That's nice. However, I do have the goal of simultaneously making recipes out of all the stuff i already have, rather than shopping for new stuff for new recipes (though i justify that by freezing, more on that in a minute) ... anyone know a good website for that? as in, plug in your ingredients and a corresponding recipe will pop up? gosh that would be fun! and convenient!

The freezing: I now have about seven meals stocked up in there -- one meal for each day of a week. and, a batch (uncooked) of rhonda's scones with raisins instead of cranberries. i love that thought, especially as there will be busy times i just don't want to cook, and i detest prepackaged foods (both for the health content and environmental rape and pillage, yes, even organic frozen foods are often lab-made or are veggies that come from CHINA) ... for those of you who are by choice microwave-less (as am I) .. how do you defrost food in a jiffy? I'm trying to get myself to write down freeze dates so nothing gets "burned" and nasty. i do need to pick up more glass storage containers, though ... i'm loving my Pyrex set. So. Freezing and stockpiling, GREAT progress on this.

4. I've blogged on this stuff earlier, but I came up with a pretty low-estimate plan of saving roughly $8,000 -- yes, EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS -- by May 2010 if all goes well. This money right now is for a house, but depending what happens in life it could take care of a new car, travel, whatever else I might need at that time. But I'll keep saying HOUSE. I love the sound of it, and the dessert word that accompanies it, GARDEN.

how will this be accomplished? by saving, NOW, all babysitting money, tutoring money, partylite money, and ebay money.

and by saving, next school year, the $80 plus MORE (than i make now) a week i'll be making doing morning child care and knitting club (this is not definite yet), partylite money, babysitting money.

I'll also be upping my 403B contribution (for friends abroad, this is retirement plan) by $30/month from what I currently invest monthly now (this is obviously NOT house money, though).

I was thinking about it on the walk to the coffeeshop tonight and realizing that if I really intend to still enjoy quality of life and home cooked meals and REAL quality time for my family, etc, by the time i have kids, I need to be able to be financially stable enough to only need to work part-time, instead of full ... if at all. (but let's say part time for now to be even more realistic). If I steady my ship now (and i fortunately can, "in this economy"), by the time i'm a head teacher I can use my doubled (hopefully?)-ish salary to really sock it away in the savings good.

alas ... we shall see!!

if you've made it ALL the way through this post, you are a saint!!

we'll talk soon, friends. be well.


wishlist: trips to four? ish of the international markets in my area ... and a SURIBACHI!!


  1. It's going to feel so nice to have *homecooked* food on reserve, when you are hungry and just want to eat - NoW! that would probably be the easiest time to feel inclined to spend $, too, so you are definitely saving your wallet! and i LOVE how cooking time doubles as personal reflection / health time. some people are completely hassled by cooking, i feel relaxed by it!? i think we share that. it's been nice to be able to take pesto out of my freezer that i whizzed up from our summer basil, and other such items. so that frozen items don't risk "burning," i routinely go through a phase of "ok, time to clear out the freezer" so things don't spoil. good way to save money on weeks when you really need to, too. :)

    i think your plans really do seem workable and you can do a lot *now.* i really commend how you've gravitated to developing those habits, now, for future rewards, later. give a little now for future gain. plus, you might just be doing this in the future for your kids' lunches. ;)

    love you!

  2. p.s. what kind of international markets have you? ;)

  3. KarBear,
    This may be a dumb question, but: How do you stockpile scallions? I'm always losing them to spoiling. :( Do you freeze them? Dry them? Something else entirely?


  4. Wow, Karen! You go,girl! :) I'm so proud of you. You are making such wise choices for your future. You're blessed to be "getting it" financially/healthfully at a young age. Your path will bless you.

    I covet your soup pictured up there - looks delicious!! Mmmm. That and access to vegan menu items at ANY place close to me. There are NONE. :(

    I don't have a microwave and usually try to take what I need out of the freezer the night before, setting it in the fridge or on the counter (not a bad thing to do when it's not meat). I have soaked the container in a sink of hot water in a pinch, just in order to get the items to slip out into a pot on the stove, but thinking ahead is the best bet for me.

  5. Well done with your menu planning. Everything looks SOOOO yummy. I haven't done much menu planning over Jan - while the kids were on school holidays but did get back to it last week. Hence we had a lot more variety in our meals and I think everyone enjoyed dinner more.
    I'm still working on my stockpile cupboard but see yours is looking good.


  6. thanks everyone for your wonderful comments/suggestions. it's so nice to have validation for what you're doing. i can't wait to come up with another menu plan later tonight. ... arianna, i do *not* stockpile anything fresh ... can't! because I have no garden stuff, i shop weekly for fresh produce. I find the scallions stay longer if you stand them upright in the fridge, though.