Posts tagged ‘Frugality’
Ok, so it got a bit more difficult to eat vegan on Day Two! Mostly, Henry was a fussybub and I wanted to find consolation in the Triple Fudge cake we have in the fridge, but that was not to be! I tried to appease my sweet tooth with some dried apricots and semi-sweet chocolate chips but it didn’t quite do the trick. I went to bed defeated! However, I was so happy that Henry was asleep that it wasn’t too bad. In the battle between sweets and sleep, sleep ALWAYS wins (when you have a baby, anyway!).
In “too frugal for one’s own good” news, yesterday I went out to get a haircut after almost a year of going without! I went to First Choice which is one of those cheap places at which you don’t have to make an appointment. Because Henry hasn’t accepted a bottle yet, I had only two hours to leave the house before needing to get back. I made sure to leave once he had consumed lots of milk, so I made a mad dash out (first brushing off all the snow that had accumulated on the car! Ah, February). Luckily there wasn’t much of a wait and I liked my hair stylist enough, but not only did she cut my hair unevenly (she did end up fixing it), but she didn’t blow dry it all the way so it massively frizzed up. I could have done a better job myself! However, for $19 you can’t really ask for too much! The cut is decent enough (chin length bob — my favourite!), but I have learned that when one has escaped the house for two precious hours, one is best off going to an actual salon! This is the lesson for today, mugs and thugs.
I had it along with steamed vegetables and a bagel with blackberry jam. I wanted margarine (or butter!) on my bagel, but regular margarine isn’t vegan! I need to get some Earth Balance. The blackberry jam was still good and served as dessert as well! (I will admit that blackberry jam, as good as it is, is no Triple Fudge cake!).
For breakfast this morning, I made some Apple Oatmeal!
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 apple, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 small handful of raisins
1 sprinkling of shredded coconut
This was wonderful! It was very chunky because the apple was so large, but creamy too. I didn’t add anything to sweeten it, but it would be great drizzled with some maple syrup.
Aside from Triple Fudge cake cravings (wow, the third time I’ve mentioned it — what does that tell you?!!?), I feel pretty good with my vegan diet heading into Day Three. Without getting too TMI, from a digestive standpoint the results have been immediate ifyouknowwhatI’msaying. Henry was extremely fussy yesterday evening, but slept well (up every 2.5 hours but fell back to sleep immediately and didn’t wake up crying this morning!). So we shall see how it goes today…
Last night, while parked in what I thought was a legal street parking zone, I got a ticket! $40 flushed down the drain in an instant! That really put a damper on my evening, although the reason I was out on a Friday night was for a party, a party which included good times, delicious food, and sangria. $40 for a fun night out isn’t that bad, I guess <– Optimism!
As we approach the end of January, I am beginning to look at my list of goals (blog about that on Monday!) and look at my budget to see where my “miscellaneous” spending was, uh, spent. Aside from mortgage payments, this is how I spent my income in January:
– Postage – $13.05
– Snow shoveling – $20.00
– Insulation – $75.00 (We decided to use the $500 our inlaws gave us from their lottery winnings to cover most of this, and I used $100 I received for Christmas and never added to my budget)
– Parking downtown Toronto – $15.00
– Parking ticket 😦 – $40.00
Truth be told, I did spend some money at Starbucks, Walmart and Bulk Barn but I used gift cards that I received for Christmas. The most exciting thing I purchased this month was my coupon sorter for $4.95! Indeed, it’s been a very frugal month. February will probably be less so, as Henry and I (hopefully!) venture out more frequently. I would like to spend more money on good coffee, good food, and Crazy Sexy Diet.
I just realized that this entry has no pictures, so in honour of Caturday, I leave you with this!
Like most other citizens of the world, I love baked goods. Specifically, I am a fan of donuts, croissants, danishes, and bread. I also love cookies and cake, but DCDB (Donuts Croissants Danishes and Bread!) take the cake (pun!). The very best croissant I’ve ever had in my entire life can be purchased at Jules Patisserie on Mount Pleasant Road here in Toronto. I have been to Paris twice, yet the chocolate almond croissant from Jules is singlehandedly the best thing I have ever consumed. I used to live within walking distance of this bakery and made it a habit to go there every Saturday morning to buy one each for me and Husband. A couple of months before we moved, I stopped going because I was trying to be healthy. Big mistake! HUGE! Words to the wise: When one lives within walking distance of the best croissants in the world, it is advisable to take advantage of the close proximity.
We all have regrets, rights?
I am telling you this story to clearly convey my LOVE of baked goods. I’ve never tried making croissants, donuts or danishes before because 1) I don’t have a deep fryer and 2) handling pastry is a scary prospect, but I have attempted baking loaves of bread on many occasions. Making yeast breads is tough, though! It’s so hard to get them to rise. But there is one fool-proof way to make a successful loaf of bread all on your own. The key words, my friends, are NO KNEAD.
Perhaps you are familiar with the No-Knead bread recipe that was popularized by Mark Bittman in the New York Times in 2006. If you aren’t, I recommend you read the linked article. It could possibly change your life. After reading that article, read this one. It’s the one I read earlier this week on the Huffington Post app, most likely while breast-feeding in the middle of the night! I liked how the author said she starts making it before going out on Friday night, and it’s ready by late Saturday morning. Something about that little routine really appealed to me, so I decided to start my own loaf last night!
A little delirious by exhaustion; a little excited by imminent complex carbohydrates
It was truly a perfect night for bread baking, as we were dumped with a load of snow. It turned the sky orange, which is the single best thing about winter.
Winter out my Window
The ingredients are so simple and so frugal! A recipe after my own heart.
3 cups of flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 2/3 cups water
Cornmeal or more flour as needed
I followed the directions closely, but made a couple of substitutions. I don’t have kosher salt, so I just used regular. It calls for Thompson raisins and I just used regular raisins. Maybe they are Thompson raisins? I have no clue. I am not brand savvy when it comes to my shriveled grapes! It also says to bake it in a dutch oven or Le Creuset. Too rich for my blood, so I just used a casserole dish. I never covered it because Husband broke the glass lid years ago, so I just never covered it.
I like how the recipe describes the dough as soft and ugly. I don’t know if I am just a carb fiend, but I have never seen an ugly dough! All dough is beautiful and should be accepted exactly as it is.
You complete me
I left my non-ugly dough to rise overnight for 12 hours which – might I add – was one of those nights where the baby doesn’t want to sleep much. Oy with the poodles already! By the time I was ready to stick this in the oven, I was anxious to get my carb on.
And get my carb on I did
This bread is stunning. It is crisp and crunchy on the outside, and so soft and doughy on the inside. The walnuts and raisins are the perfect addition of salty and sweet. If you bought this loaf in a bakery, you’d easily pay $4 or $5. By my somewhat inaccurate calculations, I would place the cost of materials at under $1. As I lay in bed last night, in between “Henry eruptions”, I thought of other combinations you could use in place of the walnuts and raisins. You could try dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds and chunks of dried apricot. I am excited by the possibilities.
Warning: This bread is addictive. Consider yourself warned.
Ok, so my earnest plan to eat THREE SQUARE MEALS A DAY was a gigantic failure. As it turns out, I love to eat. Alas, I love to eat more than three measly times a day. Who wudda thunk it? I am not really that surprised, but I thought for sure I could accomplish such a simple goal. It was not to be! Oh well. You learn something new every day.
Part of the problem was that my friend came over for dinner and a movie. What good is a movie with one’s friend if one cannot consume ice cream, popcorn, wine, and chocolate in one sitting? We were watching Bridget Jones’ Diary, so junk food was a must. (If you thought this was a healthy living blog, I am sorry, you are grossly mistaken! lol)
We started out the evening healthy enough. Ang made Cauliflower Cheddar soup and brought along a loaf of French bread. Perfection on a cold winter’s night!
Dinner for two. And, oh yes, we ate all that bread!
Soup with cheese. It’s a good thing.
Even though Henry had a different itinerary in mind this morning, I was dead set on making Carrot Cake Oatmeal for breakfast. After a bit of nursing, a diaper change, 1 or 2 or 7 attempts at getting him to nap, I was finally able to make it approximately 3 hours after waking. I could have just grabbed one of my Morning Glory muffins for breakfast, but I really wanted this oatmeal!
Heaven in a bowl
I tried to lighten it up a bit by not using any coconut milk or cream and using just 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and no raisins. I probably used more walnuts than it called for, because I have a giant bag from Costco. That, and I am keen to get all my omega-3s. Yes. That’s it.
Once you have Carrot Cake Oatmeal, it’s tough having non-Carrot Cake Oatmeal, y’know?
Today, Henry, Hubby, and I made a family trip to Walmart. You may think, “Oh, Walmart, big whoop”, but for a housebound lady like me, this is a big event. Husband decided to take us to a Walmart a bit further away and asked me if I had a problem with it. I absolutely do not have a problem with being out of the house for longer than one hour at a time! I think I’ve mentioned it on this blog before about how I feel like an excited dog on a car ride. If I could, I’d stick my head out the window, too!
Along with such exciting items as baby gear, bananas, and cat food, I also bought this coupon sorter!!!
$4.95 at a Walmart near you
Ever since watching the show Extreme Couponing on TLC, in which regular citizens of the world like you and me are able to buy hundreds of dollars of groceries for, like, 5% of the actual cost, I have become a bit obsessed with clipping coupons. None of our weekly flyers really offer many coupons, so I’ve resorted to websites like save.ca and websaver.ca in order to accumulate some.
I haven’t been doing much shopping lately (see: never leaving my house!), but I hope, one day soon, to resume the role of primary grocery shopper in the Frugal ‘n’ Fit household. God love him, but my husband is not as obsessed with frugal living as I am. I know, shocker! He will often go to the “expensive” grocery store to buy all of our groceries, instead of going to three different grocery stores in order to get the best deals like a certain other member of our household would (Hint: Not Henry).
So I am clipping my coupons and getting ready to score some deals!
Coupon sorting. It’s a good thing.
And to conclude this entry, I just want to say I’ve written the entire thing while simultaneously using my foot to bounce Henry in his bouncy chair!
As you know, I am a huge fan of the resolution-making process and love to read about others’, but by January 3rd I am sick of hearing about it. Anyway, they say that most people break their resolutions by the beginning of March. If my resolution is to fail and I have done nothing but succeed, does this make my resolution a failure?
Now that the holidays are over, life has returned to normal. Since I am currently a stay-at-home-mom, this only means that I’ve put away the Christmas decorations and anxiously await the return of my favourite television shows. That is about the only difference.
For kicks, I’ve given myself the goal today to eat three square meals a day with no snacking in between. I honesty don’t think I have ever done this before! It has been a lifetime of snacking, let me tell you.
So far, so good. I have reserved the right to have dessert at 7:30 tonight (there is ice cream cake in the freezer!). For breakfast, I had a bowl of rice chex with all-bran, topped with plain non-fat yogurt, a sliced banana and some berries, and a spoonful of almond butter. For lunch, I had a giant garden salad with a goat cheese medallion and a GIANT hard-boiled egg. For dinner, I had leftovers!
Baked pasta, broccoli salad, and chick pea salad
With a small bowl of fruit.
All together now.
I love leftovers. You get a little bit of this, a little bit of that, you don’t have to cook and it’s frugal (especially when the food was purchased by your in-laws!).
Speaking of my in-laws – and to totally go off-topic but it’s my blog so I will! – they won $3000 in the lotto today and they are giving us $500. Score! We are setting it aside for our vacation fund so that we can go somewhere cool with Henry this summer. So not only do they bring us broccoli salad, but they give us their lotto winnings. I married into the right family, of this I am sure.
I took these photos with my camera rather than my iPhone and I can really tell a difference. It’s a bit more work to upload (download?) the photos to the computer, but I think it’s worth it. The pictures are much more clear. It’s tough enough taking pictures of food in the early, dark evenings. I might as well use all the help I can get if I want my blog hits to increase to Dooce-like proportions (yeah right!).
Ok, the rest of this blog post is probably only of interest to the Canadian readers, or those non-Canadians with access to CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Not since the days of Anne of Green Gables have I been excited for a show on CBC! Have you heard of Village On a Diet? It’s a reality show about a village in British Columbia trying to lose weight all together. I think it will be like a more quaint, more Canadian The Biggest Loser.
“So how’s about this calorie counting, eh?”.
“Don’t know what to order at Timmies now that I can’t have my Iced Cap and fritter”.
“This Canadian bacon sandwich is just no good without the Canadian bacon”.
Anyway, I am excited to watch it and I think Henry is, too.
Soon to be starring in The Biggest Cutie Pie
Since Christmas, we’ve been running very low on groceries and only today did we replenish our stock. Now our fridge is FULL.
Lest you think we are egg fiends, I want you to know we get our eggs free from my in-laws. Not that there is anything wrong with being an egg fiend.
A couple of days ago, I parsed together a Black Bean Chili using canned tomatoes, canned beans, frozen corn, and one solitary jalapeno pepper residing in the bottom of the fridge. I’ve made this recipe before with successful result, but this batch was much too spicy for my delicate palate. I’m not sure what went wrong! I think our chili powder is on crack (figuratively speaking, of course).
Too hot to handle. And I’m not talking about me this time. (Badump cha!)
Being the frugal tightwad that I pride myself on being, I did not want to throw away this giant pot of perfectly-fine-but-burns-your-tongue-and-mouth-off chili. I needed something to dilute it, but I wasn’t sure what to use. I could add vegetable stock to make it more of a soup, but it was already quite runny. I could have really used some culinary guidance on this one. Where is Martha Stewart when you need her? Not in my kitchen, I will tell you that.
But then it dawned on me. I could make a lasagna using this chili instead of tomato sauce and vegetables!
***Cue frugal angels singing frugal songs about frugal living!***
The noodles and cheese would dilute the spice and I would not be forced to dump the chili. Hurrah! Since we bought a new container of baby spinach today, I added the last bits of our old spinach to the chili as well.
It is a shame these containers aren’t recyclable in Toronto, but that is a post for another time
So not only did I use up my “I no longer have a mouth/tongue” chili, but also old spinach! I live frugally because, duh, I want to save my money, but I must say there is a lot of pride to be had with this mode of living as well.
Now a review of how the chili actually turned out is forthcoming as it is currently baking. (Baby is asleep so I need to get as much done during this sacred hour as possible!) But it looks fairly promising to me.
Of course it looks promising. It looks like a pile of cheese.
In other frugal living news, I made a batch of Thank You cards today using paper supplies I’ve had since university days.
THANKS! x 4
When you have a baby, especially a first, you receive a lot of gifts, which necessitates the formal thanking for these gifts. I’ve probably written 40 or 50 thank yous by now, but I’ve still got eight people left to go. I ran out of store-bought cards and thought I’d make some instead of buying. A pack of 10 cards is about six dollars, so I like to think I am six dollars richer now (Six dollars = one Starbucks latte and a pack of gum. Score!).
It was fun to make these, although I ran out of glue. Is there anything worse than running out of glue when you’ve got your craft on? The answer is NO. But that is a post for another time 🙂
Warning: Primo Amore Tuscan Beans Soup is NOT vegetarian.
I repeat: NOT vegetarian.
I made the epic mistake of not reading the ingredient list before chowing down. I was definitely picking up on some weird texture issues during my first few spoonfuls, so I checked out the ingredient list only to find out I was actually consuming bacon. 10+ years of bacon-free living and it all went to pot yesterday! Horrors!
In other news, we bought a new bed this week, upgrading from a double to a queen-sized mattress. I have two things to say about this:
1. It is soooooo comfortable! The only problem is that it is so comfortable it is now even harder to get up when Henry cries, which he does every two hours. I do not want to leave my bed of pillow-top goodness to change and feed a crying newborn!
2. FRUGAL TIP: To make a very long story short, we were able to negotiate over $300 off our mattress/box spring/frame set by telling Sleep Country Canada that we found a better deal at The Bay (true story). I was surprised by how quickly they offered this much-reduced price and it made me realize that there really is room for haggling when making major purchases like furniture. I will definitely use this tactic when I go ahead and finally buy that 12-person jacuzzi! 😉
My goals today include the following:
1. Wash dishes
2. Have a nap
3. Bake sugar cookies!!! <– Am I asking too much from the world, aka Henry?
This list must look so simple to those without 4 week olds, but trust a blogger: I am playing with Old Man Time or whoever is in charge of time management when I hope to both nap and bake within a single day. If I achieve both, I will be one happy Mommy (with a mouthful of sugar cookie!).