“Food Review” Archive
Yesterday was…by far…our most touristy day. It wasn’t a huge slip but we did spend $15 on ice cream, $5 on taffy and about $50 on other miscellaneous stuff. It was payday so we had new spending money but I still had money left over from last week’s spending so…that’s pretty darn good I say considering we are on vacation.
On Friday afternoon after our big hike we went out to our first restaurant meal. It was $80 (with tip) for the six of us to eat and we put no limits on the kids–meaning they were allowed to get drinks and their selection from the menu. Steve and I noticed right away that the kids were genuinely excited and grateful to be eating out. This, in itself, was a proud moment! That’s what a meal out should be–a treat…not the norm. Steve and I agreed we could “cheat” on the real food diet on this one day. In the end, we (Steve and I) were disappointed. We think we built up the getting to eat out thing so much that the food couldn’t live up to the hype. Now, here’s the interesting thing…Steve and I made a point to observe the kids after they ate the restaurant items of their choice. Sure enough–by the time we got back to the house (maybe 30 minutes after dinner)–DD was asking for a snack! This has not been happening with our real food diet as the real stuff keeps her full longer. About an hour later the boys were asking for a snack. It was such a notable difference b/c since we have started this real food thing, we have not had late evening requests for snacks. Dinner is served and that’s the last eating that occurs. We didn’t say anything that night b/c we have to be careful not to talk about this real food thing too much b/c the boys are right at the age where they will rebel just to rebel. Meaning if we say it too much they’ll get sick of hearing it and sabotage the plan…not to be disobedient but just to push the envelope as tweens and teens often do.
Now, fast forward to Saturday. We planned to go to Mass at 4:30 pm so we figured we’d just walk the downtown touristy area a few hours before Mass. We had a huge breakfast at about 10 am and the kids still were not hungry at 2 pm when we were heading into town. Now what we did next was a bit of a slip b/c we were only planning on eating out once but I think it turned out to be a valuable lesson. We discovered a “real food” restaurant and decided to give it a try. What a HUGE difference from the meal the night before! We didn’t have to say anything about food at all but instead listened to the kids discuss the difference in taste, quality, texture and yes…the food making them feel full. Steve did take that opportunity to discuss the differences b/w the two restaurants and how the majority of restaurants are like the Friday night place–just not real food. The kids could not stop raving about Saturday’s lunch spot and it was worth the $57 we spent to feed all six of us. No drinks this time and we were sure to point out that the menu prices were about the same at both restaurants so the savings on drinks was at least 20 bucks! The kids ended up seeing the value of real food without us lecturing about it–and that is a great (accidental) benefit! So, if you are ever in the Estes Park area….we highly recommend Notchtop Bakery and Cafe. http://www.thenotchtop.com/menus.html
And now we are off to pack and put this house back together! We fly back to SA late this evening…ready to dive into the week first thing tomorrow morning! One of the boys leaves for Boy Scout camp at 8 am while the other goes to a conditioning camp at his high school. I am back to the office and Steve flies to Atlanta at 11 am Monday morning and is gone for the week. Nothing like easing into the swing of things! Oh well, we are good at this…it is what we do!
As I sat waiting for my flight home today I happened to catch a segment on CNN about a family who took a 100-days-of-real-food-challenge. This caught my attention because of the recent posts and comments on groceries and I was fascinated! I could relate to this mom (Lisa Leake) as she explained how her journey started and what a huge difference it has made in her life. So I just googled and found her blog at http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/ I am not saying I am ready to jump off into this intimidating world but I am definitely ready to take some of her advice and start making some changes. Like her at the beginning—I like to think we do okay on our diet–but after reading just a bit I can see we will definitely benefit. Of course, my biggest concern right now was the cost and she addressed that right off the bat. Yes, real food is more expensive…and she received so many comments about that reality in the beginning that she then took another challenge: Eating real food for $125 per week for a family of 4! When I saw that number and looked at her plan…I took it as a sign! So, I’m going to start exploring her website and I’ll report back of course.
I told Steve about this tonight and he was very supportive of trying something new. We know we can all benefit from some changes. He also made the point that he thinks it might be helpful if I find something like this to put my attention toward while the debt payoff gains momentum and, to some extent, needs to go on autopilot. Now, before you think he’s saying that we need to stop paying attention to money…he isn’t. He’s just telling me that this debt payoff thing might be a bit like watching grass grow and to keep me from going crazy (and driving him crazy)…maybe I should focus on food!
If you’re anything like me, your poor family gets one of ten meals over and over… and over… and over again.
After a ten hour day, staring down the eyes of three more hours of late night work, I’ve been unable to plan any sort of decent meal.
Take on the crazy notion that I can last two months without dining out and I set myself up for disaster…
Or did I?
I heard an advertisement for E-mealz and decided to give it a shot the same day I promised my husband to say no to dining out. If you’ve never heard of E-mealz, let me give you the quick run-down. E-mealz is a weekly menu planning resource with over 28 menu options to choose from – including meals for two, meals for four, points system meal plans, and a gluten free menu (hint hint to my sister Lizzy and her gluten free child). Once a week I log on, download my menu and my shopping list, make a 30 minute trip to the grocery store, and never think about dinner again until I’m in the kitchen for 30 minutes making it each night.
The menus rotate beef, chicken, pork, fish, and vegetarian dishes and *gasp* force me to try new things.
My sister-in-law (who works late into the night) frequently comes home, drops her bags on the floor, and calls ‘What’s on the E-mealz menu tonight?!? Smells so yummy!’ as she pulls up a barstool and serves a plate.
Weird. I never heard her say that when I made turkey wraps for the 15th time in a month.
I used to spend $120 a week on food. With E-mealz, I spend around $55. I’m not trying to sound like a walking advertisement but it’s hard not to share when you’ve found something that makes a chore easy and reduces your grocery budget by 50%. Membership is only $1.25 a week!
I approached the folks at E-meals and asked them if they would be willing to donate a one month subscription to one of my readers. Not only did they agree, they donated a 3 month subscription to give away AND offered 10% off for all BloggingAwayDebt readers.
How can you win it? Leave a comment and let me know you are interested (make sure to type your e-mail address in the ‘Mail’ slot). I’ll throw all the comment names into a hat and draw a winner on Wednesday night (August 18th). The winner’s name will be posted on Thursday, August 19th.
If you don’t win but are interested in using E-mealz and want 10% off, click the link/photo below and type in the code: savemoney
Please make sure to click the link/photo so E-mealz knows where the referrals are coming from.
And, the recipe for chicken puffs? It’s an E-mealz dinner! Wrap cooked chicken and cream cheese in a reduced fat crescent roll. Cook as instructed on the crescent roll directions. It’s AMAZING!!
Our organization is short on funds this year (who isn’t?). I expected our annual catered holiday party to be cancelled since feeding 300 or so office staff isn’t exactly cheap – not that the catering has ever been good, but it’s been edible.
We received an e-mail about a month ago proposing a company potluck instead of the catered affair. It sounded like a stupid idea to me. Dry mashed potatoes? Soggy salad? Not my idea of holiday cheer.
As I entered the giant conference room, I was assaulted by the powerful scents of AMAZING food. I was wrong about the culinary talents of my co-workers.
I am fortunate to work with a group of ethnically diverse folks. I filled my plate with lumpia, pancit, spicy dip, Mexican cheese wraps, and other foods I’d never had the opportunity to try before. For two hours, I ate the treasures created by my co-workers and shared my fresh warm bread. We talked and shared recipes. We caught up on recent gossip and for a moment…
forgot that the economy sucks.
It was by far the best company party we’ve ever had.
Try something new this year. It may just be the best thing you’ve ever done.
Maybe this recession isn’t all bad.
Well, I’m still on vacation. So, while you’re reading this, I’m probably sitting in a lounger reading a trashy novel with my feet in the sand and a margarita by my side.
OK, truth be told? I’m probably wrapped in sun protecting blankets under the pop up tent whining about how the sun is too bright, the showers are too cold, and the sand is too hot.
But I WILL have a margarita.
My husband I are in love with Sam the Cooking Guy (previously on Cox Cable channel 4, but now he has his own show on Discovery Health called ‘Just Cook This with Sam the Cooking Guy’)
Frankly, if I can make this meal (I’m what some call ‘culinary challenged’)… YOU can make it.
Oh, and watch Sam the Cooking Guy. He gives great tips on how to cook fast, easy, and inexpensive meals. So while I’m out, here’s a cheap dinner to enjoy.
Thai Curried Chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
One 14 ounce can light coconut milk
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons Asian chili paste (I used Asian chili sauce and it worked just as well)
Zest of one lime plus the juice (no zester? no worry – just use the juice)
Cilantro, chopped fine for garnish
Cooked rice for serving
Trim chicken of any extra fat. In a large bowl, combine coconut milk, cumin, curry, chili paste, lime zest and juice, mix well.
Reserve about 1/3 of the sauce for after, but add the chicken to the rest. Mix well, cover and marinate—anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight.
Heat bbq or grill pan and cook chicken on both side until cooked though—those cool grill marks are perfect here. While the chicken cooks, simmer the extra sauce in a small pot to thicken.
Slice into strips, serve on top of rice with a little extra sauce and a sprinkle of cilantro.
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My DebtLarge Graph
- Current: $27,305
- Paid: $70,796
- Original: $98,101
- Emergency Fund: $1500
- IRS Savings: $
- Broken Down:
CC #1: $0 ($64) CC #2: $0 ($240) CC #3: $0 ($650) CC #4: $0 ($785) CC #5: $0 ($1,500) CC #6: $0 ($1,886) CC #7: $0 ($1,984) CC #8: $0 ($2,135) CC #9: $0 ($7,145)
- CC #10: $8,570 ($14,561)
CC #11: $0 ($24,388) Credit Line #1: $0 ($182) Credit Line #2: $0 ($182) Auto #1: $0 ($16,579) Auto #2: $0 ($25,819)
- Cons. Loan: $18,735 ($20,000)
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