Random thoughts of an upbeat mind

Posts tagged ‘cooking’

Taxes and other things

So I finally did my taxes and for the first time EVER I owe money. 😮 I am not sure how I feel about this. The program I used doesn’t seem to be working like I think it should. So I will look at it tomorrow with fresh eyes.

The exercising is still not back to where it should be. This week is going to be different. There, I wrote it so it must be true! 😉

Since I owe taxes and my last credit card bill was a bit spendy as I had some yearly expenses come through, I am going on another no spend challenge. I have a day outing with my oldest on Saturday with her friend and her mother. So my goal is to get to Saturday without spending a cent. I will be shopping my freezers and cooking to make this happen. I will be strong on Friday when we usually have sushi lunch. And I will cross my fingers that there is nothing tempting on the menu at the cafe at work. The good chef is back and it’s been a slippery slope.

Today I baked some pork chops and made rice. Yesterday I baked fish and I have salad fixings. I should be good until Tuesday when I will cook again. I must say it is good to have meat back on the menu as an option. Especially since I have so much of it in the freezer.

My grandfather turns 90 at the end of next month so I am going to try to make this no spend challenge last until then. His party is in Florida, so outside of my plane ticket, I will keep my credit card in my wallet and my money in the bank.

Given my tax bill, I will be investigating additional ways to reduce my taxes. Short of having another child, I think that just looks like more retirement savings are in order. I will have to look at my budget and make adjustments.

I have lots of movies and a few books from the library and my PVR is still overflowing so there is lots to keep me entertained and out of trouble.

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Making good financial decisions

Life is just chugging along over here. Each week is looking more like the last with respect to exercise and work. I took Thursday and Friday off this week to rest and relax. I was also going to go to a new salon on one of my days off to get my hair trimmed. I was talking about it with my Aunt who recommended her hairdresser who is 1/6 of the price of the salon downtown.

So I am going to give it a shot. Worst case scenario it doesn’t work out for me and I’m out a few dollars. Best case I find a new and very affordable hairdresser. I am really  hoping for the latter. Either way my hair gets a long overdue trim. The back is really in need of some assistance and attention.

Today was one of my Aunt’s 65th birthday and she came in from Arizona to have a party. It was great, I got to see a lot of her family that I only see at these types of events. To clarify this Aunt is my cousin’s mother and we are not related by blood and even though she is no longer involved with my Uncle I still keep and honor the relationship. She has again told me that I have an open invitation to visit her any time. I will definitely think about it next winter.

Since I was out today and lazing yesterday, I did not cook. There are enough leftovers to get me to Tuesday night so I should be OK. I am still trying to keep my food spending under control. I bought lunch last week as salmon was on the menu and I was greatly disappointed. It helps to reinforced the idea that I need to cook. Spending money and not getting what I want, be that good food or good service, just makes me mad.

My goal this week is to get to be before midnight, so I need to get going.

Have a great week.

No Spend is Over

Last week was a success. I got up Monday through Thursday mornings and did a workout. I am feeling good. Sundays are becoming harder to get a workout in but I am going to file it under the importance of rest days. 😉

The no spend challenge was a success. I only ate out twice last month. Once when I went ice fishing and the other was treating Diva because she had a bad week. It was not as bad as I thought it would be. Cooking on Sundays definitely made the difference. It seems like my no spending rubbed off and some of my coworkers started bringing their lunches as well.

Wednesday is the start of my “no meat” challenge. I will continue to eat seafood but will try to eat a more plant based diet. I will be looking into sources of protein that aren’t legumes and cheese. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

At the end of the month, I am going to replace the battery in my scale and see if my lifestyle changes are making a difference in my weight. Then I am going to try my hardest not to let the number affect me mentally. I am seeing muscles starting to make their appearance and that is motivating me to continue. Taking jeans straight out of the dryer and putting them on with ease is also helping. I have a set of jeans a size down that I grew out of and never got rid of. These are my next goal. Once they are easy to put on out of the dryer I think I will have to figure out what to do with myself next.

Sadly not much else is going on. My life right now is just wash, rinse, repeat. Outside of the books I read not much seems to change. I am telling myself that this is just a season and this work, work, work, work only schedule is not going to be my life forever. It’s a hard sell some days, but I realize that sacrifices must be made.

Speaking of books, I am currently reading “Becoming” by Michelle Obama and I highly recommend it.

Alright, that’s all I got for now.

Getting the hang of it

With some help (read daily early morning phone calls), I managed to work out Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning before work. It was a glorious experience to be able to come home and just sit and relax at the end of the day. I can see myself getting used to this. This week I will try to workout every morning. This will be more fun than usual as I am working until 11 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

I am still cooking 2 meals and a soup every Sunday and it is really making my life easier to not have to think too hard about what to pack for lunch and dinner. Since my kids are not loving everything I cook, the food lasts the week. Super win for me and my wallet.

Last week I surprised myself by finding and making this red lentil soup and it was delicious. It will definitely be made again, especially since I will be giving up meat for Lent.

On the menu this week is beef and broccoli, pot roast and baked sweet potatoes and chicken, kale and quinoa soup loosely based on the recipes linked.

I am going to take a break from exercising tonight as my lower back has been hurting all day. I will stretch out as I watch the Oscars.

Enjoy your evening and I hope your week is a good one!

No Spend Challenge

Towards the end of last year my spending on food was out of control. I used my busyness and tiredness as an excuse to eat out. I have reduced it somewhat in January but decided that a no spend challenge for the month of February might just be the thing to get me back on track.

For those of you new to the party, a no spend challenge is a period of time in which you abstain from non-essential spending. I tried a week and it was easy to defer purchases for 7 days. A month makes it more of a challenge. And for someone who socializes by eating out this is going to be a bit more difficult than I’d like it to be.

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The plan is to cook enough on Sundays to carry me through most of the week. Last week I tried it out. I am in need of practice as I burnt myself and managed to make a big mess by spilling grease on the floor.

The food lasted longer than I intended as I ate out for lunch on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday, we had the last hurrah at lunch for me. We usually eat sushi every Friday and since Feb 1 was Friday we moved it to Wednesday. Thursday, I went out to lunch with a coworker who looks like he was at the end of his rope. Working at my company is not for the week. Friday was the sous chef’s last day. She makes the best fried chicken and I was not going to miss out, so since the menu is posted every Monday, I gave my coworker the price of the meal on Monday. So technically I did not spend on Friday. 😉

The roast and chili were the only items that were finished last week, so I froze the rest. I intended to cook pork chops, a one pot rice dish and soup but since I have so much food left over I only made the rice. I will bake the pork chops on Thursday and it should be enough to get me through the week.

I’m excited to be focused on getting my self together. I’m hoping that all these new habits take shape and stick.

I want the hour back

I am not ready for it to be 7pm already. Even though it is still bright outside and I will appreciate it tomorrow when I am coming home from work.

Today was a productive day. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you don’t turn on the TV.

I went to Costco, Walmart and the grocery store after dropping one of my kids off to work this morning. Since I am not eating meat, I am also not cooking much. And since I have been buying lunch, I have not really done a proper grocery shop. So I stocked up on veggies and bought a Costco size piece of salmon.

I roasted carrots, broccoli and made sweet potato toast and baked the salmon. I am ready for the week. Although salmon does not last long in this house, so I might have to cook again.

Before I go to bed, I will make some chia pudding to have for breakfast.

My goal this week is to go back to not buying lunch. Even though it is only $7 and the portions are generous, it does add up rather quickly.

The part time job is not keeping me as busy as I would like it. Last week, I only had 2 shifts, Friday and Saturday evening. The schedule is the same again this week. I am lightly looking for another job, both full time and part time. Gotta keep my options open.

Last week at the full time job was trying. The sales rep I work with is very panicky and scattered and it increases greatly when there is lots going on. I spent the whole week willing it to end. Not the way I want to live my life at all.

This week should calm down a bit so I should also be able to return to the gym with more consistency. Last week, I went twice. Which considering I only went to the PT job on Friday makes me a little disappointed. This week I am aiming to get at least 3 workouts in, preferably 4.

Life is still pretty quiet. I keep toying with learning to use my DSLR properly, but have not picked it up to do anything with it. 😦 I been reading a bit. Currently tackling “The Woman in the Window“. It reminds me a lot of “The Girl on the Train” and I did not enjoy that book much. But I will struggle through it as I want to see how it ends.

On a Roll

Last week we did not do our regularly scheduled workouts. Monday, the trainer was stuck in traffic. So my coworker and I did our own workout. I was out of the office on Wednesday and one of the other ladies was also not available, so that class also needed to be rescheduled. The new lady was not available for the rest of the week due to family commitments. My regular boot camper was disappointed to miss the whole week as she was only available for a half class on Thursday, so I suggested Friday.

Aside from the fact that it was the end of a long week, it ended up being a hard workout. It seemed that the trainer was trying to get both workouts into the hour. Then instead of going home to relax, I decided to knock out a “quick” trip to Costco. Hoping for less foot traffic as everyone else should be tired too.

At Costco, I bought some meat. I am not supposed to be buying meat as my freezers are still not empty, but I am not cooking and needed inspiration. A huge pork loin and 6 pounds of ground beef made it into my cart, along with lots of vegetables. We will not mention the two shirts and track pants that also came home with me.

Yesterday, I met up with my Dad for brunch and then ran a few errands, voted in the local bi-election and of course visited the library.

Today I dealt with the pork. I cut it into three pieces. One of those pieces I cut into chops. The chops and one of the pieces went into the freezer and the other chunk was seasoned for dinner tonight. The ground beef was divided into one pound packages and all but one went into the freezer.

Back in early October, my gym buddy’s child was having a fund-raiser that offered autumn vegetables instead of the usual magazine or chocolates. I am now in possession of lots of potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and onions.

I roasted some of the potatoes and sweet potatoes to go with the pork. Might as well make good use of the oven while it is on. I fried up a pound of the ground beef with some carrots and made the sauce using this recipe. It’s my favourite go-to stir fry sauce as I always have these ingredients in my kitchen. Rice was made to go with the beef.

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I should not need to purchase lunch this week.