Posts tagged ‘The Monday Rundown’

Another Fabulous Monday

You won’t hear me saying “another fabulous Monday” too often but when it involves sleeping in, a day off work, and Breakfast Quinoa you most certainly will!

But first, check out this thumb claw:

Don’t mess with Texas.  By Texas, I mean Dr. Snuggles

Yesterday was an accomplished day.  I walked 10 km!  I have told this to pretty much every person I have spoken with since then.  I am proud of myself.  I have this wacky theory that as long as I keep myself in relatively good shape, the birthing process should be easy and the little guy will be out of there in, like, four hours.  That’s how it works right?  You get to imagine the kind of birth you want and it just happens?


We walked down to the beach and it was gorgeous out!  I have never seen a Canadian beach filled with so many people before.  This is partly because I very rarely visit Canadian beaches, or when I do, it’s at 8 am in the morning.

Pasty, sun-deprived Canadians

Like these two hotties!

We walked and walked, taking a couple of breaks to eat baby carrots (don’t leave home without them!).  Husband got a craving for a falafel and the beauty of living in Toronto is that a mere five minutes later we came upon a falafel shop.  Now that’s what I’m talking about!

We each ordered a falafel sandwich and shared a bottle of water.

Not bad for $3.50

We continued on our merry way and stopped for another break at Starbucks.  I wanted an iced decaf coffee but they didn’t have any so they gave me an iced decaf Americano for the cheaper price.  Score!

I added cream because that is what I do.

We eventually made our way home and chilled in the basement (literally).  I snacked on some zucchini bread and then made us Green Monsters.  You will notice the rest of the day’s pictures aren’t taken in natural light because I spent the remainder of my time hibernating in the cozy, cool basement.

I made this GM with the usual milk/frozen banana/frozen peach/spinach combo, but my spinach was starting to turn which gave this a very spinach-y flavour.  Ummm, not such a good thing.  But I still drank it!  Waste not, want not.


Because of my determination to spend the rest of the day on my rump, cooking a large meal for dinner wasn’t on the agenda.  We just ended up having grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are severely underrated

I thought this would conclude my day’s eating, but I heard the siren’s call and I could not resist…

Thankfully (or tragically?), the carton is almost empty and this temptation will no longer reside so close to my, um, taste buds.  That is, until a buy another carton…:)

I stayed up WAY too late last night (as did the little man who was kicking away until 2 am!) and woke up around 8:30 am.  I made some Breakfast Quinoa because I am addicted to this stuff!

My plans today involve going to “ribfest” with two carnivores.  A vegetarian nightmare?  Perhaps.  I just am hoping for corn on the cob and lots of it!

Before I forget, here is the Monday Rundown (a synopsis of my miscellaneous spending for the previous week):

Dinner out $20

Change for subway $1

Gum and Christmas cards! $5.4

Coffee $1.89

Coworker gift contribution $20

Coffee $1.89

Gluten-free snack for coworker $4.75

Falafels and water $9.3

Total for week $64.23

Yes, I bought  Christmas cards in July!  They were on sale for $3 so how could I resist?  Like usual, I mostly spent money on food, but I also contributed to my coworker’s departing gift as well as a gluten-free snack for her party (my work’s social policy has changed so they no longer pay for parties!).  She is the one who hired me at my job five years ago and has made my life infinitely easier because of her calm, kind demeanor.  I figured she was worth approximately $24.75.

Now it is time for me to go do nothing.  Happy Monday!

August 2, 2010 at 10:54 am 6 comments

Day 68

Good morning!

This is my 68th day left of work, not that I am counting!  Actually, I am feeling very chill right now, which is an odd sensation to have first thing Monday morning.  I credit the green tea!  And the fact that I am going to a baseball game tonight!  Lately, I have been thinking that I need to get out more.  I am such a homebody, but I need to remember that the little guy currently residing in my uterus is going to make me even more housebound, especially this winter.  Friends have encouraged me to get out more, and that is what I shall do!  We have a couple of friends who live in Korea staying with us for the next few days, which should keep things interesting.  And, tonight, we are going to see a Jays game!  I foresee some vegetarian street meat in my immediate future.  Because of that, I knew I needed a Green Monster for breakfast.  Get those fruits and veggies in while I can!

The classic GM combination of:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed fruit
  • Lots of spinach

As well as a whole wheat bagel toasted with cream cheese.

I would now usually post my “Monday Rundown”, but I have recently switched my spreadsheet from Excel to Google Documents and now I am having trouble copying-and-pasting it into the blog!  So I will give you an abbreviated run down of what I spent last week!

1.  Blueberries, spinach, chocolate bar – Antioxidants much?

2.  Lunch for me, Husband, and his two coworkers – I was feeling generous!  Take a picture, it doesn’t happen often 🙂

3.  Contact lenses – I order them online so it costs about half of what it would cost at my ophthalmologist’s.   That is a really difficult word to spell!

4.  Groceries – Usually husband pays for groceries, but I forgot his credit card on Saturday morning.  Luckily, I reduced the bill by 30%!  Usually we spend about $100 per week, but this week it was only $70.  Booyeah!

I definitely spent more than my budgeted $90 per week, but I have more than enough in the reservoirs.  The contact lenses will be reimbursed by my health plan which is nice!  I also want to buy some prescription glasses in the next couple of weeks.  My last pair were black thick rims, but I am thinking of going rimless this time around.  Thoughts?  Opinions?

Time to work hard on this Day 68!

July 26, 2010 at 8:36 am 6 comments

Greek yogurt experiment

In case you missed my post yesterday, we are having a boy!  I have been hanging on to this piece of information ever since our ultrasound because I wanted to tell my family and friends first before telling the Internet.  Now I am happy that everyone who should know, now knows.  Phew!

Last night, I tried an experiment involving yogurt.  I’ve been told that to create a thicker, Greek-style type of yogurt inexpensively, you can take regular, plain yogurt, and let it thicken by putting it in cheesecloth and letting the excess moisture drain out.  I have been meaning to buy cheesecloth for ages, but keep forgetting!  On the weekend, I was talking about this with friends and they recommended using a disposable coffee filter.  I don’t have these either (I use a reusable filter), so a friend gave me some to try.  I love friends who support my frugality by giving me free stuff! 😉

Once I got home, I taped a coffee filter to a mug and put just enough yogurt in that it wouldn’t break the filter (this did happen with my first attempt unfortunately!).

Immediately, the coffee filter became moist.  I left this in the fridge for a few hours, and then scooped it out.  It was definitely thicker, but this method only makes a couple of tablespoons of yogurt at a time!  I tried again by just adding yogurt every couple of hours.  Once it will full, I had a good serving and a half of thick yogurt!

It was noticeably thicker, although I’m not sure if the protein content changed.  Probably not by much.  I will have to do some research about how to make this process more efficient.  If I can make my own thick yogurt, I could save a bundle.

I used some of this yogurt on today’s breakfast!  I started with Overnight Oats made with 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup 1% milk, and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds left in the fridge overnight.

Then I added the yogurt, a small handful of Kashi Go Lean cereal, 4 sliced strawberries, a handful of blueberries, and a spoonful of peanut butter.  It was very tasty.

This weekend, I also had an enlightening conversation with my girlfriends about maternity leave benefits.  I think I have been underestimating how much I will receive during my year-off.  With this piece of information, I immediately went out on a shopping spree.  Uhhh…I wish!  Instead, I just clapped my hands and got excited to save even more money.  Hello, my name is Robyn, and I am addicted to budgeting.

Because of the new leaf I turned over last week, I didn’t spend too much.  You will notice the lack of coffee purchased!

The Monday Rundown

Small coffee $1.28
Gas $20.00
Lunch $20.00
Café Mocha $3.75
Milk and yogurt $8.00
Total for week $53.03

(That first coffee was purchased before I decided to stop buying coffee 😉 )

I am lucky in that my brunch yesterday was paid for by a friend, and my picnic offerings were budgeted into the grocery bill that my husband paid for.  It was a relatively inexpensive weekend.

I am still reading the book The Complete Tightwad Gazette (at over 900 pages, it is taking a while!).   I am learning a lot of great ideas and one is “the cost of the wow factor”.  The idea is that some splurges are worth it because their cost for the amount of “wow” you receive is a good deal.  Take, for example, a trip to Hawaii.  On a scale of 1 to 10, the “wow factor” for this trip is probably a 9 and the cost for two people is $3000.  Let’s take another trip, this time a four day camping trip a few hours away from home.  On a scale of 1 to 10, the wow factor may be 5.  The cost of the trip?  $400.  It has less of a wow factor than Hawaii, but also a much smaller cost.

9 wow factors = $3000.00.  Therefore, the cost per wow factor is $333.33

5 wow factors = $400.00.  The cost per wow factor is $80.00

By this equation, you get more bang for your buck with the camping trip.

This is an interesting application to use when debating whether a splurge is worth it.  You may find that the more expensive choice still has a greater cost-per-wow factor than the less expensive choice.

I am looking at you, Greek yogurt.

July 19, 2010 at 8:50 am 13 comments

A new week

Another Monday showed up!  How did that happen?  I thoroughly enjoyed my busy weekend, but I feel like I need one more day for vegetating purposes.  Oh well.

For breakfast this morning, I had a repeat of Saturday’s:  1 cup of Kashi Go Lean, 1 cup of plain non-fat yogurt, and 4 sliced strawberries, a handful of blueberries, and a small handful of raspberries.  I used so much yogurt because the container was almost empty and my fridge is packed so I wanted to free up some room.  It’s never a good sign when you eat more to make room in your fridge.  However, these are special circumstances considering the flux of Icelandic and Greek yogurts currently in my possession!



What this bowl needed was a giant scoop of nut butter!

Since it’s Monday, it’s time for The Monday Rundown!  This is my miscellaneous spending for last week:

Tall coffee $1.89
Salad dressing $2.59
Strawberries and blueberries $4.99
Tall coffee $1.89
Tall coffee $1.89
Garlic bulb and jalapeno pepper $0.43
Tall coffee $1.89
Donuts and Iced Capps $8.34
Tall coffee $1.89
Shopping in America! $100.00
Total for week $125.80

Pretty much my entire budget was spent on food last week.  SHOCKER!  I don’t have a specific figure for the amount I spent in the States on Saturday, but I know I spent $60ish at Target and $30ish at Wegman’s and $10ish elsewhere.  When it comes to shopping sprees, I utilize the “ish” factor.  Makes it less depressing that way 🙂

I watched Big Brother last night and all I’m going to say is that I suspect Kathy is the saboteur.   She totally sucks at competitions.  What was up with just laying in the “caramel”?  She is a police officer!  She would definitely try harder to get out!  And why pick a fight with Brittany only to have both of their faces “x”‘ed out the next day?  If she were a regular player in this game, I don’t think she would be making these poor maneuvers.  It just doesn’t make sense.

Back to the grind I go…

July 12, 2010 at 8:18 am 6 comments

Retreat from the heat

Note:  I will likely begin every entry this week talking about the weather because it is one hot mother out there!

As noted above, it is one hot mother out there!  I walk to the subway at 7:00 am and usually the day is still cool at that time, but once I opened my door I was hit by a wave of heat.  A heat wave, if you will.  I love the heat because it means strappy sandals, tank tops, and no chance of flurries, but I have to say that the air conditioned subway was EXTREMELY welcome after my 25 minute walk.  Of course, I still bought some hot coffee before heading into the office, because old habits die hard 😉

So for breakfast, I knew I wanted my favourite combination of Green Monster + loaf.  To me, it is the perfect blend of protein, carbs, and fruit (and vegetables!).

I found the Cherry Coconut Banana bread improved in flavour the day after baking.  It was still moist and very tasty.

The Green Monster, on the other hand, was not one of my favourites.  It tasted like spinach!  How the heck did that happen?  I used a typical combination of:

  • 1 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/2 banana
  • Lots of baby spinach

I did use more milk than usual because my milk bag was floppy and poured faster than I realized, and I almost forgot to add the banana until mid-blend, but other than that, this was a typical recipe.  Not one of my favourites, but still good.  I mean, this is a GM we are talking about.


Now it is time for The Monday Rundown!  These are my miscellaneous expenses from June 27th to July 4th:

Medium coffee $2.00
Cherries $2.50
Tall coffee $1.89
Muffin $1.94
Small coffee $1.75
Cherries $3.95
Tall coffee $1.89
Freshii wrap $7.67
Mom’s birthday gift $31.45
Hippie stash $28.47
Muffin and scone $4.00
Eggplant sandwich $5.50
Iced Americano $2.50
Soap, granola bars, cookies $8.77
Total for week $104.28

I bought a lot of fun, healthy food last week and look forward to much coconut butter in my immediate future.  I would not recommend the Freshii wrap but I would recommend the eggplant sandwich from the St. Lawrence market!  Again, I stayed under budget, but that is not likely to happen this week as I am going to Buffalo, New York with my husband for a day of shopping on Saturday.  Me + Target = Shopping Explosion!   Once I enter those hallowed red doors, there is no such word as “frugal” in my lexicon 🙂

July 5, 2010 at 8:52 am 4 comments

Cereal Mess

Definitely the easiest way to greet a Monday morning is by making a big ol’ Cereal Mess for breakfast!

This one includes:

  • 1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • Large handful of fresh blueberries
  • About 7 tiny local strawberries
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • Tbsp of raisins
  • Sprinkle of coconut
  • Spoonful of almond butter


I don’t know if it was the great breakfast, but I woke up this morning feeling wonderful.  It just felt fabulous to be alive!  This is a crazy feeling to have, especially at 6:00 am on a Monday morning so I just rolled with it.

My morning was slightly tarnished when I got off the subway and FELL while walking up the steps.  At least falling UP the stairs is better than falling down, but I still banged up my knee and felt embarrassed.  Oh well.  I made myself feel better by ordering a medium coffee instead of a small 🙂

So it’s a new week and a short one at that!  I have Thursday off for Canada Day and then Friday is another 1/2 day.  I can’t complain!

And, because it’s Monday, I present to you The Monday Rundown.  This is a record I keep of my spending during the past week.

Tall coffee $1.89
Medium coffee $1.94
Tall coffee $1.89
Small coffee $1.75
cookies, crackers, berries, bagels $10.17
cherries, bananas, garlic, onion $5.65
cat litter, gum, cup, deodorant $16.97
farmer’s market $5.00
Self magazine $4.50
Paint $20.00
Total for week $69.76

Obligatory comments about this:

  • My goal was to buy no food, but the disclaimer was that I didn’t want to buy any convenience foods like a muffin or latte.  The food I bought was for cooking and Chocolate Cherry Bomb-creating purposes only 🙂
  • We spent about $20 at the farmer’s market, but Husband paid for most of it
  • We also split the cost of paint for the baby’s room
  • Self magazine is one of my mandatory splurges.  $4.50 is worth the happiness I derive from the hour or two I spend reading it.

Yesterday afternoon, I REALLY wanted to just go shopping.  I wanted to browse around a mall or a department store just for the fun of it.  Then I thought better of it.  I knew it would eventually lead to unnecessary spending, so instead I did chores.  Um, not quite as fun.  But it’s like a diet in that way.  Tough during the self-discipline part, but worth it after the fact!

Happy Monday!

June 28, 2010 at 8:28 am 5 comments

Another Monday

I predict a busy day at work, so I’ve got to make this quick!  Blogging should always come before work, don’t you think?

For breakfast, I had some Overnight Oats and I remembered to take a picture before I added the toppings!

This contains:

  • 1/3rd cup of rolled oats
  • 1/3rd cup of plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1/3rd cup of 1% milk

I let this sit overnight in the fridge, and then this morning added:

  • 3 sliced strawberries
  • Small handful of blueberries
  • Small handful of granola
  • 1 not so small tablespoon of almond butter

I am now a little obsessed with calculating how much each meal costs.  Forget calories, I want to count cents!

This is my approximate breakdown:

  • Oatmeal – 5 cents
  • Milk – 15 cents
  • Yogurt – 22 cents
  • Strawberries – 30 cents
  • Blueberries – 25 cents
  • Granola – 25 cents
  • Almond butter – 30 cents

Total – $1.52. Not bad!  I am going to try calculating the cost of more of my meals so that I can gain perspective on the comparative expense of going out to eat.

And since it’s Monday, it’s time for The Monday Rundown!  This is what I spent on miscellaneous stuff last week:

Tall coffee $1.89
Contribution to coworker gift $5.00
Tall coffee $1.89
Tall coffee $1.89
Tall coffee $2.00
Muffin $1.29
Ultrasound pictures $10
Tall coffee $1.89
Nifty gifties $17.11
Movie tickets $28.00
Gas $10.00
Total for week $80.96

My thoughts:

1.  Girlfriend still loves her coffee

2.  It sucks I had to pay for my ultrasound pictures, but they are definitely the best photos I have ever seen!

3.  Going to see a 3D movie in Toronto is expensive, but worth it for the fun night out (Just make sure to eat dinner at home beforehand)

I stayed under budget by about $35.00, so a good week!  My goal for this upcoming week is to not eat out once.  The only food item I home to buy is, of course, coffee 🙂

June 21, 2010 at 8:44 am 11 comments

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What happens when you love to eat healthy (and some unhealthy!) food, love to live frugally, and love to write? You start a food blog, of course. Of course!

Eating well and living frugally does not always come easy, but Lord help me, I am trying! This blog will detail my endeavor to live the best life possible. This will include pictures of my cats, odes to almond butter, and the general miscellany that makes up my life. Enjoy!

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