Monday, March 30, 2009

some simple life angst, is all

Happy Monday to you all.

I'm slightly more inclined to post today than yesterday, though still not thrilled about all the time i've been spending in front of a "blue screen" lately. i feel like i need some downtime from the hours i spend tucked away in front of the computer, mindlessly blogging on facebook and spending (though lovely, mind you) hours reading all the treasures in yours! And poking around looking at other sites in between, as other ideas occur to me and i want to investigate them. in a way, the computer has become a bit like television for me, which i'm keenly becoming aware of. i was afraid this would happen once i had the internet here. ... so i'm just going to have to set time limits, or off-computer days for myself. problem is, i'm not a good self-disciplinarian.

anyway, speaking of limits, i need to become better at self-management. i feel that my balance may be off, i've become so relaxed that i'm almost too relaxed, you know? I mean, I get things done ... a lot of things done. But sometimes it just takes me ages to GET AROUND TO IT. and that's an inner weakness. I've always struggled with it, to be sure. I can't make myself DO stuff when i think i should be doing it ... unless, of course, it's something i actually have to do or suffer consequences for, such as getting up and going to work on time.

sorry for my blah mood today, a lot of it is hormonal probably. anyway, what i'm talking about mainly is getting serious with being thrifty/saving. hasn't happened yet. others of you make it seem so easy. are any of you lifelong spenders? despite my huge recent shift toward less consumerism, now i find i want to stop at the goodwill every chance i get to "just see" what's there that i "might" need. gah, it drives me nuts, those impulses. i think i need mantras. i realize that consumerism is the way i've been subliminally brainwashed or whatever for nearly 30 years, and that radical change does not occur overnight. despite my full pantry, i keep wanting to buy more, more, more, go out to eat with friends (what's $10 bucks? my brain tells me, wiping out that good angel on the other side who knows exactly how much good every $10 saved does.) does it ever end .... ?!

in an attempt to make myself feel slightly better, here is what i baked over the weekend:

carrot/cashew spread for a leisurely sunday brunch at a friend's house. i loved whiling away four hours with nice people and nice grownup conversation. also, tentative plans were made for a spelling bee party at my house. i want house parties to happen more often, they are much cheaper and nicer than going out, and now that my apartment is ready i can do it .. and thank heaven for facebook events pages. this is still a process though, especially when the city you're in is still fairly new and you want to investigate all the new places and people out there. i do like frugal trenches' idea of only going out once a week, however it's just not always practical with how "hummy" i like to keep myself, i do like the idea though of not always spending money on food or drink at these things, when possible.

two loaves of bread ... FINALLY, bottoms stayed on!!!!! i was *so* mother hen proud of this one.

lentil dal, flavored with the yellow curry sauce i bought at trader joe's. yum yum!

marinated and baked tofu, to have with kale and avocado salads

vegan peanut butter cookies (recipe below)

this week i also plan on making a veggie and potato stew, and a couscous version of tabouleh. i have a ton of freezer food from the past few weeks, too. i need, after that, to stop doing so much new recipe craziness and focus on using what's in my pantry. it's stocked to the brim and beyond.

That feels a little more accomplished ... I'm going to focus on getting 8-9 hours of sleep and a daily walk every day through sunday, too. And on knitting and reading and homework, quite a bit of those three. I will go to see a friend's bluegrass band wednesday night, and i have tickets to the ballet on saturday night. maybe write some letters to friends. but most of all STAYING OUT OF SHOPS (except for maybe the food one, for some basics)and not doing any unecessary driving around.

I need to remember to be kind to myself when I'm feeling off center, don't fight it, just acknowledge that it's there and then let go, which is what I've just done through all that writing.

here are some saving ideas i'm feeling a need to write down:

babysitting money

tutoring money (both of these after the last piddling amounts on my CCs are paid off)

selling a few clothing items, etc. on ebay

saving child care money from next school year

putting leftover money from a night out into savings, rather than just continuing to spend it the next day

going car free here and there in favor of bus/walking depending on what i'm doing, and putting the unused gas money into savings

get into movies from the library again, and invite friends over for popcorn

give food as gifts rather than gifts as gifts

really, REALLY flirting with the idea of giving up on a cell phone for an entire year ... and paying the phantom bill into my savings account each month ... it's sad that we think we just *can't* survive without them, though. anyone have thoughts on this?

JUST SAYING NO to being in the shops, even "just to browse" when "bored" ... maybe use "bored" or, moreso, "restless" time to see if there's a volunteer opportunity i could be taking advantage of, or if there's a friend to visit with, or if there's a chapter in my book that i could read (i really put reading off way too much in favor of less better ways to spend time, what is it with our culture and not being able to just be STILL?!)

ordering a la carte or apps when feeling the urge or invited to eat out ... i'm fine with saying no, but i am still trying to make friends here, some of this just can't be done by "inviting people over" especially friends you don't know well/haven't met yet ... so i've got to modify it a bit

always keeping a protein bar/fruit/etc. with good fiber/protein on hand in case of blood sugar emergencies ; )

... and honestly, maybe i just need to pair a simple daily morning meditation (like, 5 minutes, seriously) to practice, well .. merely, simply, stillness with the better sleep i plan on getting. i'm sick of saying planning on getting ... i'm ready to just GET!!

I guess that makes me done with this post for now.

If you've made it this far, i appreciate it! i'd also appreciate any ideas/advice/thoughts/support/encouragement/commiserations you have regarding any of this. thanks, you are so kind!

Thanks for bearing with me ... oh, and I've decided to send my extra copy of Vegan with a Vengeance to Frugal Trenches, who's been one of my very best sources of continued inspiration lately. hope you other lovely ladies don't mind ... and check out her blog, it's fabulous!

be well, loves ...

peace to all beings,



Source: Vegan with a Vengeance, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, p. 199 (the notes in parentheses and most of the cooking instructions are mine, karen's)


2 cups flour (i like white spelt, but used the whole grain spelt i had)
2 cups whole grain rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder (aluminum free, people, please)
1 tsp salt (sea!)
3/4 cup canola oil (sue me, i used olive)
3/4 cup chunky all-natural peanut butter
1 cup sugar (i use vegan cane)
1 cup brown sugar (yes there is a LOT of sugar in these, that was my reaction too)
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
2 tsp vanilla extract (i like frontier organic fair trade)

Preheat oven to whatever setting your oven bakes cookies best on (i added this instead of 350F because i know ovens are often finnicky). Lightly grease or line two cookie sheets -- i use unbleached wax paper and brush on a good amount of olive oil.

Mix flour, oats, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. in another bowl, mix oil, PB, sugars, milk, and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients to wet (i did wet to dry and it was fine), and mix. the dough will be very firm and moist. For each cookie (you're supposed to get 12 huge ones), put dough into a 1/3 cup measuring cop, pop out, and place on sheet, just barely flattening it with your hand. Then grease the bottom of something that covers the cookies' diameter (i used a large mug I had with a nice round circular bottom) and flatten each cookie to about 1/2 in. thickness. the cookies need to be well spaced apart so maybe six to a sheet.

bake for about 12 minutes, and let them sit for quite a while on the sheets so they can harden and not crumble apart like most of mine did. also, my cookies are rather more chewy than crunchy, which i prefer anyway. these are a dream! enjoy!


  1. I say give up your cell phone. It's really unnecessary, more of a luxury. I haven't had one in four years, until I was recently asked to get one for work.

  2. did you get in touch with people via your home phone/facebook? i bet people thought you were nuts for not having one ; ) (not that that matters ...)

  3. Late post, but take your phone and put several rubber bands around it. It makes you pay more attention to how often you use it if you have to stop and take them off..maybe more bother than it is worth. how many days did you not use that phone?? Can you live without it? Just a thought...