Monday, September 18, 2006


So this past week was a little less frugal. I went over my $50/week goal by $5. Those fresh apples at the farmers market were so tempting that I couldn't resist.

It is actually a bit ironic that this is the week that I went over for the first time. In the past couple of weeks, I have needed to buy big things that were a substantial portion of my allotment (like chicken breasts that were $13/bag). In order to do that, I was making sure I was not buying anything except the things on my list. Last week there was nothing big to buy, so I decided to stock up on some pantry things that I am low on, like some canned goods, etc. I guess my stocking up really added up.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Proclivity for productivity

I recently read an article about how most people are happier when they are productive. And that some people actually find productive hobbies and such to be relaxing.

I thought to myself, that is definitely me. I am productive to a fault!

Then last night after a nice and productive day, I lied down on the couch and just vegged for 2 hours, watching Dancing with the Stars and Justice. To be honest, I didn't feel an ounce like being productive, I was very happy to just do nothing. So perhaps I am not as inclined to be productive as I like to pretend.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Frugalling along

So far the $50/week challenge for groceries has gone really well. (We still end up eating out at least once a week and I am not counting that in the $50.)

I have found that there are two main tricks to eating well on $50. The first is to plan a menu. This actually isn't that hard so far. I am just writing my ideas for meals directly on the calendar in the pantry. Some people spend a day doing this, I just do it whenever I happen to think of something. For example, I was talking to someone about salmon recently and thought how much I would like to eat some, so the next time I was at the pantry, I filled in a salmon day for a weekend dinner because salmon seems kind of fancy to me. So far I am basically ahead by a week or so which has made grocery shopping pretty easy. I also add any missing ingredients to make the meal onto my shopping list right when I write the meal on the calendar, so I won't forget.

The second key is to buy only one big item a week. Today I bought some frozen Alaskan salmon fillets at Costco. Last week, I bought a large bag of frozen chicken breasts.

Tomorrow, I am going to go to the farmer's market to see if I can finally get some decent produce - yum.

To tell the truth, I think we are eating better on $50/week than we did before.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

French Bread

Yesterday I tried making baguettes for the first time. It was actually quite simple and I skipped the whole kneading by hand for 6-10 minutes step in favor of my dough hook on my mixer, which made the whole thing about as simple as you can get.

The best part was, it turned out absolutely delicious and my house smelled great!! Plus the part that I don't like about French Bread is the too crusty crust, so I just didn't do the browning step at 450 and just went straight to baking. It was great, still a little crusty, but not rock solid and the bread itself was a little more dense than normal French Bread, but that was perfect for dipping in our lentil soup last night - yum, yum!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Good Eats

I like this dorky show on the Food Network called Good Eats. The guy who runs the show likes to bring out the basic science behind food preparation - which is why I like it. He also explains the best way to use various kitchen tools and why they are used in the way that they are - which is another thing I like about it.

One idea of his that I really liked was his spice cabinet. He has little tins attached to the inside of the cabinet doors with the names of the herbs and spices written on the front. So I decided to create my own version. I found some little tins at the container store and bought some magnets and then I glued them together and viola I have a new spice system on the side of my fridge - which is pretty handy because my stove/oven is just two feet away.

My new spice system is pretty good, but it does have a couple of drawbacks. First, I only bought seven containers and I have more than seven types of spices. I decided to only put sweet spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, etc.) into the new spice containers and that works pretty well, but I am still a few tins short. Second, the tins are 4 oz big. That is pretty big for spices. So I am on the lookout for smaller tins in the future.

I love being able to see my spices without hunting through the cabinet.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

New Jersey Tomatoes

I was at a bridal shower in Baltimore, MD last weekend and someone there was from NJ and had brought some fresh tomatoes. The tomatoes were very tasty and everyone there kept raving about the NJ tomatoes.

Apparently I live on the moon because I had no idea NJ was famous for tomatoes.

In all seriousness, I have been thinking about produce a lot lately anyway - mainly because we just don't have anywhere near us to get any decent produce. How is this possible to live in a suburb of the nations capitol and have such terrible food in the grocery store. I even tried to go to a local farmers market. Apparently they just don't bother to have it there anymore because the commuter lot (where it was held) was empty when I arrived at 10 am. What does a girl have to do to get some good food around here.

Next weekend, I think I am going to try Eastern Market.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Last night I felt the urge to write in a good old fashioned journal. The only problem is, I don't have one anymore. Luckily (because I am so frugal and they were on sale for back-to-school) I had recently stocked up on spiral notebooks, so I grabbed a new spiral and started to write about my day. It was a busy but ordinary day, yet somehow, all of the ordinary moments seemed to be a little more special when I took the time to write about them. I think there is something magical about recording your life - it seems to make you feel more alive.