Week Eight

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I know I’m behind when what I’m writing about feels like it was years ago — Week Eight (2/22 – 2/28) feels like but a distant memory at this point, so we’ll just have to trust my notes and my receipts.

I ended Week Seven with a commitment to working through leftovers so I could make a fresh start and cook something good, but had an afternoon meeting on Monday 2/22 that threw my schedule off a bit.

In an unusual twist, I had lunch for my first meal — half a rosemary bagel toasted, with tuna salad (tuna, onion, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce) and cheese, broiled for a few seconds to melt the cheese, and an apple and some carrot sticks — and then after my meeting decided to take a nap instead of going to the store, so had to make do with things I had on hand for dinner.

I fixed spaghetti with bread crumbs, which I wrote about previously and provided the recipe for — it is an actual recipe and not some gross thing I eat because I’m a loser and that’s all I have. It’s really good. I also sautéed some shrimp I had in the freezer in olive oil and garlic, and ate that with the pasta, along with some green peas, also from the freezer.

(Every now and then I end up with a bunch of random stuff I want to get rid of that I eat together as a meal even though it doesn’t actually go together; I’ve come to think of this as Weird Food Night. This was a borderline Weird Food Night, but with stuff from the freezer rather than leftovers in the fridge. I think embracing Weird Food Night is one of the keys to eating for less — eat what you’ve got, it’s all good.)

I had some roasted almonds and cheese and crackers while I fixed dinner, and Nutritious Uncooked Candy (a.k.a. honey milk balls) with chocolate for dessert.

On Tuesday I actually got up early-ish to walk with a friend, then stopped at the library and the gym before going to the grocery store. I was mostly restocking staples and fruit; I didn’t have much in mind for cooking.

Week Eight, Part I

Week Eight, Part I

I got a loaf of Ninth Street Bakery seven-grain bread (NS Seven Grain), which is my favorite for pb&js; Mapleview Dairy milk (Skim Milk 32oz) [though I need to note that it was the fat kind, not the skinny kind; clearly the Whole Food staff is conspiring with me to make me look more virtuous than I am] plus the bottle deposit; two kiwifruits (Kiwi Bin Og) which were still on special; some roasted almonds (Whole Almonds); an expensive grapefruit (Grapefruit Red Sma) that I decided I wanted even though I knew I could get one for half the price at Compare; some cheap-ish apples (Apples Empire Cv); bananas (Banana Yellow Cv); red potatoes (Potatoes Red A Og); just under half a pound of bacon (Applewood Lose Sm), and a carton of Latta’s egg ranch eggs (Large Brown Eggs G), which have dropped in price again — they had gone up to I think $2.89 then down to $2.39 and now down again. Good news for us egg lovers.

Total $21.26. Big day for me at the grocery store.

(You can check the Summary Page if you’re interested in cumulative totals.)

So I ended up having only one meal on Tuesday because by the time I was done with walking and the library and the gym and the grocery store, and then did the stuff I normally do in the morning (my morning, which is generally not technically morning — for those interested in the details of my schedule, please see the long response I wrote to a comment about why I eat only two meals a day), it was closer to dinner than anything else. But I had breakfast anyway — two eggs, bacon, fried apples, buttermilk biscuits with jam and honey, and hash browns. All the day’s calories in one sitting, and one of my favorite meals. But never as good as my mom’s.

My post about breakfast foods inspired me to fix leftover rice with milk and dried cranberries and to have that for breakfast on Wednesday.

I had a work meeting at Mad Hatter’s in the afternoon and bought a peanut butter cookie that was surprisingly not good given that I was at Mad Hatter’s Bake Shop. I think I should just stick with homemade cookies, the ones you get out are never quite right.

Which reminds me of a story I always think of when I think about store-bought cookies, that I think is funny, though I’m not sure if my mom will, and she reads this so hopefully she won’t be offended that I’m telling it here. No one else in my family reads this so I’m not going to worry about offending anyone else.

For background, I need to say that my mom is a really, really good cook, and she makes pretty much everything from scratch. She’s also a very nice person who would never say anything bad about anyone or do anything to offend anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings.

Okay, that’s the disclaimer.

The first holiday to which my brother brought his then-girlfriend, now wife, was Thanksgiving 1994 (? I think that’s right). When we were both in DC, my brother and I traded hosting Thanksgivings, but my mom always cooked, and she still does. She actually brings everything with her, the turkey and the roasting pan and the potatoes and everything. We call it the travelling turkey. Everyone should be so lucky.

So my brother has invited his girlfriend to spend the holiday with us, and they’ve been together for just a few months, she’s probably only met my parents once (if that) and she is an extremely thoughtful and considerate person, so of course she brings a gift with her, and she brings cookies from Sutton Place Gourmet, which was this totally high-end, frou frou gourmet food shop in DC. She probably paid $12 for those cookies. It was a very nice hostess gift.

We don’t end up eating the cookies on Thanksgiving because there’s so much other food, but the next day my mom picks one up and eats it and says, in all seriousness, “These are pretty good for store-bought cookies.”

And she actually meant that as a compliment, she thought they were good, but I thought it was so funny. All I could think was thank god she didn’t say that yesterday. Can you imagine bringing a gift to your boyfriend’s family and having his mom, your potential future mother-in-law, say, “These are pretty good for store-bought cookies”? Boy that’ll get things off on the right foot!

And I did mention this to both my mom and my sister-in-law not too long ago and my mom didn’t remember it at all and my sister-in-law laughed, and commented on the irony of having brought cookies as a gift for my mom. She was like, Wow what a bad idea that was, if only I had known.

So anyway, I just thought the whole thing was hilarious and think of it every time I eat a store-bought cookie.

And apologies for the digression, I get bored reading my grocery list. I have to keep myself entertained somehow.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program…

For dinner on Wednesday I had half a bagel with some of the tuna left from Monday, with melted cheese on it, and a banana, and some soup from the freezer. For dessert I had dried fruit.

On Thursday, I had a ham and cheese omelet (with ham from the freezer), and the rest of the biscuits and hash browns from Tuesday. For dinner, I had some soup and cheese and crackers. For dessert, I had some Trader Joe’s dark chocolate and cookies. (Not, however, the cat cookies, which I have proven to be incapable of controlling myself around. There was another tub of lemon cookies that were mostly eaten at the opening that I decided weren’t enough to try to save for next month, so those went into the freezer along with the rest of the dark chocolate, and I decided that was fair game.)

I had friends staying with me for the weekend starting on Thursday, and kind of a weird work crisis Thursday night that I stayed up late to take care of, but then got up early on Friday with my friends, and thought I could go back to bed after they went out but then remembered that I had something I promised to take care of by the end of the week so started working on that and right about when I was finishing that up my friends called to say they were on their way to The Scrap Exchange, so I went over there to meet up with them and hung out there for a while, helping them make a flower arrangement and a skiing robot, while at the same time trying to fix an Outlook email problem on one of the computers in the office (we’re all about multitasking at The Scrap Exchange), and didn’t eat until I got back from that.

So I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a banana and a glass of milk, and then I took a very nice, very long nap, and had some snacks when I got up (cheese and crackers with the last of the tuna, and almonds and dried fruit), and thought I was going to work but ended up getting a phone call, then my friends came back so I hung out with them and didn’t ever manage to get back to work. Or eat dinner. But then I got hungry late and had a kiwifruit and a bowl of granola and muesli with dried cranberries before going to bed. So that was kind of a weird day all the way around.

Since I’d now had two nights in a row where I didn’t get done what I was supposed to get done, I decided on Saturday that I had to put work first and worry about everything else later.

So I went out and splurged on one of my very favorite but ridiculously expensive meals of Odwalla Strawberry C Monster juice ($3.39), and a Kind Fruit and Nut bar ($1.69), and a tangelo ($1.07) and a Bruegger’s bagel with cream cheese ($2.36). And I swear, I could get dinner in a restaurant for what I pay to eat that. But I love all of that, and it seemed worth it to make up for the past few days. And it was actually totally good and was totally worth it, especially since I was able to get through one of the things that I needed to get through, and then was able to come home and take care of the things I normally take care of on Saturday mornings, so by 7pm Saturday I was feeling only moderately behind instead of completely behind.

Then I went out and met up with my friends who were hanging out with some of their friends, and then went over to hang out for a little bit with some other friends, and ate while I was out, and then got some more work done, so by the end of Saturday I had recovered to the point of being only slightly behind.

On Sunday, my friends took off so my schedule was more or less back to normal. I had oatmeal and a grapefruit for breakfast, then went to Compare for some produce.

Week Eight, Part II

Week Eight, Part II

Nothing mysterious on that one, and everything rung up as it was supposed to be: two potatoes, two grapefruit, three oranges, a pear, and some broccoli, for $4.81.

And Sunday was the last day of the month, so that gives me a total for February of $66.01 for grocery store food. I’ll put together a separate post that also gives total with meals out etc.

I made popcorn when I got home and had that and some dried fruit as a snack, then for dinner had an Idaho sunrise (baked potato with egg) and brown rice with chili from the freezer. For dessert I had a kiwifruit.

And that was it for Week Eight.

Hoo rah.

3 Responses to “Week Eight”

  1. Valerie Says:

    One thing I’ve really enjoyed about your weekly summaries is the reminder that food can be very simple. You had a post during your initial ‘challenge’ that included M.F.K. Fisher’s thoughts on the ‘balanced meals’ concept and the burden that put on the everyday cook; and her perception of balance, spread out over the day or week, rather than trying to achieve that balance at every single meal. (When I thought of that post, I just had to grab my copy of “How To Cook A Wolf” from the shelf and read it this afternoon.) I know that some of your days are perhaps less than what you might want them to be, but there are so many ways to take care of that side of life and still thrive.

    Thanks again…

  2. lessisenough Says:

    I agree with so much of what M.F.K. Fisher wrote, and that especially.

    I think it’s even more important when you’re cooking for one or two people to think about balancing in terms of days/weeks rather than on a per-meal basis. It seems to me that eating every meal completely “balanced” leads to a lot of extra work and food that you will have to go through before it goes bad, which for me leads to extra stress. And as M.F.K. Fisher notes, sometimes you want to eat piles of buttered toast for breakfast and that’s all.

    I definitely have some days that are nothing to write home about (which is why I can’t believe I committed to this project — I think I thought it would shame me into eating more impressively; clearly that didn’t work), but I feel like it does even out eventually.

  3. fivecats Says:

    i’d love to try some of your mom’s cookies. good homemade cookies are a wonderful thing.


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