It’s March! So close to spring! Only 21 days! And this time next week the clocks spring forward! Extra day! It’s currently snowing like a bitch outside in NYC and a man hit me in the crotch with a snow shovel, so forgive me for counting the days until this garbage Winter is over, but I am READY for Spring.

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True story though: I do this seasonal fear eating when the weather starts to change. At the end of September I eat as many tomatoes as possible. This past week, i’m trying to get all of the Winter foods in before it’s too late. I’ve had: ramen, pho, multiple chicken soup variations, chili, and a lot of roasted veggies. Currently eating: this big pot of baked lentils with merguez, parsnips, and kale. Still on the list: SOUP DUMPLINGS.

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The onset of March also means that my experiment in austerity is over. I had some bumps in the road – there were a couple cab rides, a few meals out, and one MUCH NEEDED trip to the Russian Baths, but otherwise it was really awesome and really easy. I cooked SO MUCH. Awesome, healthy, frugal meals! For myself and my pals. I didn’t buy any physical things! I really still need pants but I made it through the coldest month ever in thick tights. #proud.

I had a good manic planning afternoon in an effort to rope my friends in to doing cheapie activities so that I wouldn’t miss out on fun.

First up was a big clothing swap at my place which was the most fun excuse to clean my closet ever. I spent Valentine’s day at work and then day drinking with my best gentleman pal which really set me up for closet-clean success. I was brave enough to strip down and try on every single thing I own to see what still worked, what could be taken in, and what needed a new home. So many babes came to my house! I made a great Mexican baked egg dish and Mexican spiced hot chocolate! Other lovelies brought homemade bread and the best brownies I’ve ever had in my life. We all laughed and were in various states of undress and wiggling into clothes all afternoon. I loved it, and I loved watching the clothes I love so much going home with rad babes who looked great in them. It also felt great to be around a bunch of awesome fat femmes and try on a bunch of sizes of clothing in my own house!

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Obviously I needed a snack-centric event as well, so I goaded the girl gang into having a dumpling making party with me. Everyone brought a different type of filling and then we assembly lined the hell out of them to make a million. I ate all the ones that broke, and we all got some to take home for the freezer. We had spicy lentil, pork with ginger, garlic, and scallion, sweet potato with kale and paprika, and homemade goddamn CHEESE BLINTZES.

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We gabbed. We laughed.We fried. (WAIT. MENTAL NOTE: WE LAUGHED. WE FRIED WILL BE THE NAME OF MY GIRL GANG LOVE STORY.) We steamed. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday. It also made me realize that i’m a crazy person and only happy when i’m being productive. Like, “Oh, hey we’re going to churn out hundreds of dumplings today instead of sitting around eating brunch and relaxing like normal weekend humans.” I guess i’m lucky that my lady boss friends are the same way and will go along with my camp counselor-like activity planning.

For March, i’m focusing on moving more. I agreed to do an African dance performance as a was of making myself go to two classes a week instead of one. Logic: I’m too afraid to look like an idiot at the recital so i’ll go to class more often to make sure that doesn’t happen. I also need to get my ass back in the pool so that when it’s finally warm i’ll be in good swimming shape.

Holler if you know anyone in NYC who wants to give me some swimming pointers! I need to nail down a kickturn!

ON FRUGALITY (WEEK 1 RECAP)

February 12, 2015

Oh, hello!

I think a lot of people would argue that February is the most garbage month of them all in New York. (I actually think it’s March, but that’s because I’m an accountant.)

I usually try to make February even worse by abstaining from something I like (wine, dairy) just to see if I can. I feel like this year I have all my food and drink ducks in a row, so I’ve decided to team up with my gal pal Nora Wolf this year on what she calls “Month of Austerity” and on what i’m calling “FRUGAL FEBRUARY” because I like alliteration.

Here is Nora and me with our pups and her boo this New Year’s Eve!

(AMAZING ASIDE THEY MET AT MY CHRISTMAS PARTY LAST YEAR).

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Basic rule: Don’t buy anything other than cook-at-home food. No booze or meals out (unless it’s for work). No clothes. No makeup. No cabs. (We both are taking exceptions for special occasions. Nora: ski trip. Me: Dad’s birthday).

Since this whole thing was Nora’s doing I asked her a little bit about her history with Month of Austerity and what it means to her, and I think that a lot of the things she pointed out as the benefits of taking a spending break are really true for me as well.

1. Choice Fatigue –  “I remember when I was not making much money and trying to scrape by after college and there was a certain freedom from decision making. Should I get those pants? How many dinners out can I take this month? (During month of austerity) the answer was always no, none, you cannot do any of those things. I didn’t have to think about it.”

YES. Budgeting is goddamned exhausting. It’s really nice to just shut all that off for 28 days.

2. Clothes Horse – Nora has one of the best best closets/shoe collections of anyone I know. She says Month of Austerity helps her cull that collection, “No new clothes, and I usually purge some pieces from the closet for resale or giveaway.” I am SERIOUSLY in need of new clothes, but giving myself this month to really figure out what I want/need keeps me from impulse buying 10 new fringed kimonos. I’m also having a clothing swap at my house this weekend to see if I can get any must haves for freesie, and i’ll be able to get rid of a huge bag of awesome togs to babes I personally know so I know they’re going to a loving home.

3. In/Out – I think I am for sure more of a homebody than Nora. She is really good at finding the best dance parties/square dances/art things to go to. But she lets February be a down time for her, “I don’t eat out so I have more people over for homemade meals. When I saw dating I usually took a break from dating.” I definitely have been cooking at home so much more. I lapsed a little this week for a couple perfect beers out this week with a friend, but then had her back to my place for homemade meatballs, so that balances out.  I have been on dating hiatus for a while, so i’ll just keep using Frugal February as an excuse!

Here’s what I bought last week that was outside of my weekly public transport budget and weekly grocery shop budget which i’ve bumped up to $75 because i’m cooking 90% of my meals at home!

Monday:

$20 – African Dance Class

$1.50 – Can of Black Beans for “I’m sad I didn’t eat Super Bowl snacks yesterday” homemade nachos

Tuesday:

Literally nothing! NO DOLLARS.

Wednesday:

$12.55 – I forgot my homemade lunch on the counter. This got me a pretty good bowl of rice, tandoori chicken, and spicy braised greens.

$15.00 in Quarters – Laundry. Having to pay to do the chore you hate the most is the crummiest.

Thursday:

$3.00 – Iced Coffee. I know i’m not supposed to buy coffee but it felt comparatively warm this morning and I really wanted this.

Friday:

$11 – A dozen Peter Pan donuts for a staff meeting. You’re welcome.

$30 via Venmo -To my little brother for gas and tolls to pick me up from my office and take me to NJ. This is somehow cheaper than a round-trip bus ticket, and I can bring back a bunch of heavy seltzer right to my Brooklyn door and he has big speakers so we can listen to a lot of hip hop very loud.

Saturday:

$13 – Coffees for my fam because I was up first.

$45 – Wine for my dad’s birthday after-party

$25 – This amazing steak.

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Sunday: ZIP. Zero dollars.

That’s $176.05, which feels pretty good. BUT I want to just check my privilege for a minute and note that that’s still a fair amount of discretionary spending.

Let’s just start this post by saying that i’m eating this as I write. It is arguably the best breakfast i’ve ever made in my entire life. Homemade migas with leftover carnitas.

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Disclaimer: This is my personal, not self-aggrandizing, account of what it’s been like to become a slightly less fat person.

1. Nothing to Wear – I have really great clothes, and I love them. I spend my free time organizing The Big Fat Flea, because I think that access to great, affordable, plus size clothing is really important politically and personally.  I treasure my clothes because finding fantastic pieces at my size is a challenge. Like Johnny Cash, i’ve put this wardrobe together one piece at a time (ok, actually none of the clothes are stolen). I’ve painstakingly peicemealed together a closet full of fringe and faux-leather and men’s sweaters and crushed velvet and non-mom denim. And now, a lot of it doesn’t fit. I never would have guessed that the feeling of putting on too-tight jeans is just as bad as too-loose jeans.  As a quick fix, i’ve started putting together bags of my best clothes for a clothing swap at my place next month. I want someone great to love on these clothes like I have, and maybe i’ll walk away with another pair of pants that fits so I can give these poor jeans a rest.

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2. Proud? – On Friday I hit a big milestone number of pounds down. My nutritionist asked me if I was proud of myself. I kind of just stammered. I didn’t feel especially proud. It’s kind of like when Bubs is getting clean on the last season of The Wire and he’s like, “I don’t know why i’m getting rewarded for doing the shit I should have done all along”. But then I found myself tearing up at dance class that night. I am proud that i’ve gotten to a place where i’m at a dance class on Friday night and not at a bar or eating a whole pizza (I actually still love those things, and i’m sure there will be times that’s what I need). I feel proud that I can make it through two hours of crunches, jumping, and shaking my ass so hard without dying. I feel proud that i’m in a place where I know what I need, and I prioritize that. The REALLY complicated part is whether or not it’s “okay” to be proud of the scale number. My value is so much more than a weight, and I believe that for me, and for you, and for everyone else. But what if it felt kind of good to see that number dip? Would that mean I was a less of a fat activist? Or less body-positive? Or less of myself? Or is is just my literal mass that is less? I don’t really have an answer to any of those questions except to say I feel more like myself than I have in a long time.

 

3. Control + Body Love – Did you know that weight loss is in no way like photo shop? I basically have no say as to how my body changes as i’m loosing weight. The body that i’ve been in all my life is changing a lot, and pretty quickly, and that is weird. Every day is another chance to be psyched about my body or not that psyched about my body. I jumped really high (relatively, for me) and I watched it happened in a full length mirror and I was like, “HAY LOOK AT THAT! GREAT JOB BODY”. But I also noticed the other day that my arms look kind of deflated and not like my regular arms and that made me feel weird. This is a big deal, because fat arm acceptance was a big moment for me. I know that this is a narrative that is not just mine, and is a big deal for lots of awesome fat broads.  I wore cardigans all summer long over my dresses until I was 22. And then I worked outside in fields all the time and it was too hot to do that so I cut all the sleeves off of all my shirts because I couldn’t keep giving a fuck. And then I got a huge tattoo on my big fat upper arm because I wanted to and I needed to so that I wouldn’t ever go back to covering them up. I’ve realized that I get to say how my body looks and how I feel about it. I even met with a personal trainer so that I could gain some kind of control about how this goes. (I knew it was a good fit because I told him my goal weight was still FAT and he understood.) I want my ass to stay big so i’m doing squats. I want an upper body that feels (and looks) strong so i’m learning my way around a weight room. My body my choice, na’meen?

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Come back next time to hear about food policing, identity, me feeling like a weirdo in restaurants.

 

Disclaimer: This is a super personal account of 2014 for me. Since August i’ve lost 30 pounds and am learning a lot about what it means to actually take care of myself. This is how I got here. The below is about me and my experience, I don’t think you need to loose 30 pounds (unless you feel like it), I think you look great. I am still fat and will, in all likelihood, be fat always. There are no “before” and “after” photos because my body was fine before and it will be fine no matter what, because it’s mine and it gets me around this earth and helps me eat snacks and wear clothes and pet dogs.

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A rutabaga with a fat ass, because why not?

I spent the first half of 2014 feeling like complete dog shit. At the very beginning of the year I went through a bad break-up and more than my fair share of personal trauma, but the real tipping point was having two (in retrospect, totally shitty) health care professionals refuse to give me anesthesia due to my height/weight ratio. To wit, that awful experience was the only time that my weight has negatively impacted me, ever.

Instead of dealing with any of the goings on of last winter, I threw myself into 70 hour tax season work weeks, ate a lot of takeout, and on my one night out per week drank until I got sick and had to lay on the couch the whole next day (eating more takeout). It wasn’t great. I gained about 15 pounds pretty quickly. I stopped exercising. I felt sluggish and crummy.

I had a bunch of totally un-fat related little illnesses come up – a gross skin infection, and what was probably a round of mild listeria, and I needed to get checked out. After my garbage experience with the anesthesiologists, I found myself paralyzed by trying to find a new doctor. It’s one of the most anxiety inducing things i’ve done in recent memory. But I asked around, finally found a new GP, and made an emergency appointment.

The day of my appointment was late in July, and it was totally gross outside. I lugged myself up the sticky subway stairs and up 14th street to the dilapidated “real New York” waiting room of my new GP and just stood there, tapping my foot and trying not to sweat on anything. When I finally met the doctor, it was like a mirage. He was handsome and funny and a godamned micro-farmer. We clicked really hard and he laughed at all my nervous jokes. He took my blood pressure, had the nurse take some blood samples, gave me antibiotics, and asked me if there was anything else bothering me.

That’s when I lost it. There I was, in the tiny office of a complete stranger, bawling. It was the first time I really talked about how shitty my experience with the other doctor’s had been, and how shitty I felt, and how I felt uncomfortable for the very first time in my body. I felt like the skin infection on my inner thighs and the bout of stomach issues I had been having were just gross reactions to being at my heaviest weight ever. He assured me that they had nothing to do with my weight, and that I was, on paper, a completely healthy person. He told me that if I wasn’t comfortable, and I wasn’t feeling well,  and I wanted to make a change, he could put me in touch with a nutritionist to try to see if there was anything she could do. He understood my background, and promised not to set me with up a “rah-rah aspartame” nutritionist. He didn’t tell me I was going to die. He didn’t tell me I needed weight loss surgery. He just helped me help myself. It sucks that I feel GRATEFUL that a doctor did right by my fat self, rather than that being the standard operating procedure.

So I did it. It was TERRIFYING but after one session I knew I was doing the right thing. Beth is a MS, RDN, CSSD and probably the sweetest woman I have ever met. We did a two week reset during which I didn’t have any sugar, or complex carbs, or booze. I thought I would die but I didn’t. I thought I would be grumpy as fuck, but I wasn’t. She called me on how much I was drinking, and I was honest with a health care professional for the first time about just how much I was drinking. It was a lot. And it was fucking with my life. I was saying shit I didn’t mean or remember, and I was not showing up for my friends, and I was wasting a whole day a week being hungover. She told me that I needed to limit myself to 5 drinks a week. Hard rule. And i’ve been (mostly) doing that, and it’s insane to me that i’ve been doing that.

Since then we’ve met every two weeks. She’s become like a therapist, a sounding board, someone to share recipes with, and someone who helps me not take this shit so seriously. She laughs and nods that I tell her my fitness goals include “just being more Sporty Spice” or when I bitch about quinoa. I can’t imagine doing all of this without her. She knows that this isn’t just a numbers game, it’s about changing my fucking life, and figuring out what makes me feel good. She doesn’t let me beat up on myself, and she talks me through all of the shit that is weird about being a body-positive fat person becoming less fat. (More on that later.)

It clicked for me when I went away camping for a week a few weeks after our first meeting. The trip is really the highlight of my year, and it’s usually reallllllly boozy and we eat a lot of hot dogs. Like, a lot. This year something changed. My best pal came prepared with a bunch of healthy snacks. We brought swim fins and did long swims or hikes every morning. We ate salads (and some s’mores, of course), and had a bourbon before bed, but it wasn’t WILD and that was fine. It was more than fine, it was GREAT. I came back to work feeling renewed instead of kind of beat up. That was the point of no return.

So here I am. I feel pretty awesome. All of this learning how to take care of myself has really spiraled into all the other non-food related parts of my life. My skin looks good. I still see my friends and they still like me (I think.) I have a bagel every now and then and it’s cool. I feemore in control of my shit than I ever have. I am killing it at work – i’m more focused and more productive. I’m going to get a dog. I’m not dating just to date – not taking any  bullshit from tepid suitors.

I feel like a clearer version of myself. I feel pretty happy. I feel a lot of things ALL THE TIME because i’m not suppressing that shit under work or bread or wine. I want to be able to swim a mile. I want to rip a fucking phonebook in half. I mean, who knows what’s going to happen, but for now, I feel good. And that’s good enough.

My basic plan:

I track everything I eat, and eat around 1,600 calories a day.

I exercise 5 times a week. In the Summer/Fall that was a mostly swimming. Now it’s African dance and Couch to 5k training.

I eat whole grains (but not whole grain bread) at breakfast or lunch only.

I drink 5 or fewer alcoholic drinks a week.

I drink a boatload of water.

I get two deviation meals a week that can be whatever I want/need. (Yesterday’s was a cheesesteak.)

I don’t know how professional cooks eat.

Seriously, aside from shoving a few eggplant donuts in my maw, and tasting a few things before they went out, I hardly ate this weekend as I prepped for our Supper Club.

There was a moment, a few hours before the event, that I called and begged Kate to bring us anything to eat that wasn’t what we were serving. The three of us then housed sesame bagels from Dunkin Donuts standing up because that’s what was closest. (I am actually remembering it tasting awesome, but i’m sure I would have eaten pretty much anything in that moment.)

This is about 1/8 of the chard I prepped.

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You’d think after spending the entire weekend shopping, chopping, and cooking that I would want to not do any of those things for a while. BUT you would be wrong, because there must be something wrong with me. I found myself so, so HUNGRY and needing my own food. And to do that, i’d need to do the shopping/chopping/cooking.

The event was on Sunday, which threw off my farmer’s market/groceria game plan. I found myself getting out of my nutritionist’s appointment by 4pm, and got the green light to head home after work just after. I thought, “OH, I can go to Trader Joe’s before everyone gets out of work and everything will be quiet and beautiful.”

Obviously that was not the case. At any rate! I found that I had some goods like beans, eggs, and tomato sauce left from last week AND i’ll be out of town this weekend, so I felt like I was able to go for a couple more spendy items that will last a few weeks. I clocked in just under $50 for the following:

+ yellow miso

+ brussels sprouts

+ spaghetti squash

+ acorn squash

+ 2 sweet potatoes

+ crimini mushrooms

+ quinoa

+ canned pumpkin

+ bagged arugula

+ bagged kale

+ parmesan cheese

+ greek yogurt

+ organic ground beef

+ chicken sausage

+ canned tuna

PLANS:

+ bolognese with spaghetti squash

+ pumpkin quinoa cakes

+ mushroom parmesan quinoa cakes

+ roast veggies with miso dressing

+ brussels sprout hash with eggs and sausage

On cooking (a lot).

October 15, 2014

Hey creeps!

I cooked a bunch of tasty stuff last week! Good fall food!

On Sunday I made a pot of SAWCE and turkey meatballs to ladle over spaghetti squash.

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And then I put on my finest mesh crop top and rode my bike over to go see Sinkane and Helado Negro which was pretty much great. The air was crisp and there were tinsel dancers and Tecate. I’ve had the below on repeat pretty much since then.

Other tasty things I made:

+ Brussels Sprout Hash with fried eggs and amazing beet sausages from The Meat Hook (these were gifted to me, so back off.)

+ Coconut Curry!

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+ This boss pantry salad with chickpeas, tuna, chili, lemon, shredded carrot, and kale

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+ AND the winner of the week was definitely this pureed golden cauliflower that I set a tiny steak on top of. I just steamed a half a head of cauliflower, and whizzed it up with a pad of butter, salt, pepper and garlic. I may or may not have licked my plate.

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So then after that I worked with two amazing ladies to shop, prep, and cook a seated dinner for 18 people! And also snacks for like 20 bar guest.

It was amazing and exhausting. This menu, a take on a classic north east Sunday supper using Middle Eastern flavors, really pushed us to explore the city and put our fingers in spice bins. It was really great. I teared up as I set the tables because everything looked so godamned beautiful. I was pretty much too busy to take and pictures, but look upon these gorgeous pickles we made!

My absolute favorite were the carrots, pickled with cinnamon and cardamom.

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Summer, It Was Real.

October 5, 2014

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I spend so much time dreading the end of summer (and tomatoes) and then all of a sudden I wake up and it’s actually Fall and it’s so godamned good. I wore tights for the first time, begrudgingly, but then realized how much better my fall wardrobe is than my summer attire of tiny jorts. This morning I got up early and went for a long walk in my hood. The air was crisp, and I wore a favorite jacket and stopped after grocery shopping for a big ol’ latte. I saw my first dog sweater of the season and crunched some leaves. In the middle of writing this, I tried to take my A/C unit out of the window, but stopped, because my neighbors are on their porch and I don’t want to kill them. Good stuff, all around.

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My grocery shop and meal planning for the week is definitely reflecting the change in weather. Feeling psyched to make lots of roasty, warm food this week.

+ Cheapo Pro: At the farmer’s market, pretty frequently, for ease of sale, items are priced ‘each’ rather than by the pound. I went hard at grabbing the hugest ‘each’ available this week. Greed is good.

+ Cheapo Con: Ok, this is probably the saddest single lady sentence of all time but WHY CAN’T I GET A TINY LITTLE POT ROAST FOR ONE?! I was craving a classic pot roast all week, with carrots and potatoes and wine! But the littlest ones were still $12, and I can’t eat pot roast for like 3 meals this week. Can I? I can’t. I settled for tiny steaks instead.

WHERE MY $50 WENT:

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+ Farmer’s Market-

-1 HUGE head of golden cauliflower.

-1 HUGE head of red Russian kale

-1 Orange Pepper

-1 Dozen Eggs

-1 large zuchini

-1 little spaghetti squash

-1 little delicata squash

-1 big handful of green beans

-2 little sweet potatoes

-1 bag of brussels sprouts

-1 big carrot

-3 apples

– 1 head lettuce

+Grocery Store

-greek yogurt

-3 cans of beans (butter, black, chick peas)

-1 can of coconut milk

-1 bag of onions

-2 cans of tuna

-1 pound of hormone free ground turkey

-2 tiny steaks

-3 seltzers

-1 large can of crushed tomatoes

– 2 lemons

WHERE MY $50 IS GOING:

– a big pot of coconut curry with sweet potatoes, green beans, peppers

– turkey flax meatballs with kale, chickpeas, and spaghetti squash

– tiny steaks with cauliflower mash, caramelized onions, roasted brussels sprouts

– Nicoise salads for lunch

– Brown rice zucchini boats

– Baked Apples with honey, cinnamon, cashews

On Doin’ the Thing.

October 4, 2014

Yo!

I’m eating my delicious post-yoga breakfast in front of my rainy window writing this after having survived my first week on this $50 grocery budget experiment. I don’t know why more people don’t eat fried rice for breakfast, it’s awesome.

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Mostly, it was awesome and easier than I thought.

SUCCESSES:

+ I actually ate everything I bought! There are relatively no wilting vegetables in my fridge, and i’ve got just enough leftovers for dinner tonight.

+ I spent seriously less cash than usual.

+ I ate way more home cooked food than usual.

+ I realized that making due with what I have is a fun challenge, even if it sometimes feels like settling. Like, these zucchini pancakes would have been better if I had stopped off for a $9 wedge of Parmesan cheese to grate in, but they were totally delicious without that.

+ All those food bloggers who have their shit together and swear by Sunday meal prep are totally dead on. Coming home to a bunch of half started meals seriously took the pressure off.

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CAVEATS + ADDITIONAL SPENDING:

+ WINE! How did I not budget this in. Whatever. I need wine to live. I’m giving myself a $20 budget for this a week. I spent $18 on a perfectly delicious 2011 Bordeaux this week and braised beef with it and drank the rest.

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+ Chocolate. Sorry, not sorry. I needed this. It was $3.49.

+ Meals out. I had one lunch and one dinner out. Which feels pretty good for someone who was doing way more than that previously. I think that’s a general rule i’ll try to keep. I spent $32 on those.

CHALLENGES:

+ Sometimes eating leftovers sucks, no matter how good they were the first time around.

+ I didn’t really think about how eating chili for four days in a row would effect my guts/butt. I’m eating a lot of beans and veggies these days so, i’m feeling jet propelled.

+ I’ve had some kind of monster sinus thing all week, so sometimes I really just wanted a bowl of hot spicy thai takeout for dinner instead of cooking.

WHAT I MADE:

+ Chili with turkey, beans, sweet potato

+ Salad with olives, hard boiled eggs, tomato (2)

+ Braised beef with onions over roasted butternut squash

+ Garlic roasted brussels sprouts

+ Kale and eggs

+ Roasted chicken thighs with kale, chickpeas, wine, mustard

+ Fried rice with broccoli, peppers, egg

+ Zucchini Pancakes with spicy paprika tomato sauce, egg

(This was absolutely the best thing I made all week!)

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THE CAKES:

1 large zucchini, grated, salted, and squeezed (like really, really squeezed)

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 egg

1 clove grated garlic

salt and pepper

Mix that batter together (it will look loose) and shallow fry in oil of your choice. I just plopped big teaspoons, and then flattened them with the back of my spatula.

I cooked some crushed tomatoes down with vinegar, paprika, and chiles, and put the cakes right on top. And then on top of that a crispy fried egg, because duh.

On a budget.

September 28, 2014

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I am lucky enough to have a great, tiny farmer’s market 2 blocks from my new digs in a little park.  It’s quiet and full of good dogs. No one is reaching over you for squash. There are ice pops, and good meat, and flowers, and organic veggies. It’s on a Sunday, and it’s made my Lord’s days really awesome.

There’s something awesome about the potential energy of a big bag of produce. Like endless possibilities for the week ahead. I spend the rest of Sunday afternoon tidying the kitchen and cooking and prepping food for the week and listening to nineties hip hop. It’s a great ritual.

Except, sometimes, like with anything great, I have a tendency to over do it. And then i’ve spent $90 and I have a house full of wilting flowers and a bunch of squash shriveling up in the crisper that I didn’t quite get to.

So, i’ve challenged myself to spend $50 on Sunday and that’s it. No popping into the fancy bodega for a few ingredients I missed on Wednesday. Just me, my $50, and a pretty well stocked pantry. (Pantry includes: cooking oils, bulk grains and nuts, and a pretty well stocked spice rack.) I aim to have lunches and dinners all set for the week. Breakfast is usually a yogurt or some oatmeal at my desk.

Full disclosure: I am going on about 8 weeks of working with a nutritionist. I am (mostly) avoiding processed food, including processed wheat products. Also, not eating thing with >10 grams of sugar.

Here’s where my $50 went this week:

FROM THE FARMER’S MARKET:

– a head of broccoli

– two orange peppers

– 3 onions

– 1 head of garlic

– 1 bunch of kale

– 2 little bunches of tatsoi

– 1 big zuchini

– 2 little sweet potatoes

-1 medium butternut squash

– 1 bunch of pink dahlias

– mixed salad greens

– brussels sprouts

– 5 apples

– 1/2 dozen eggs

– 3/4 pound of grass fed stew meat

– two tomatoes

 

FROM THE GROCERIA:

– greek yogurt

– 3 cans of beans

– 2 big cans of fire roasted crushed tomatoes

– organic chicken thighs

– ground turkey

– 3 bottles of seltzer

– ice cream bars (fuck off, ok?)

– soy noodles

– 2 lemons

Geez. Typing that out and seeing it makes me realize that’s a ton of food, and I feel awesome about that.

 

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK:

– a big pot of chili with turkey, beans, and sweet potatoes

– braised beef with roasted butternut squash, kale

– roasted chicken thighs with tatsoi, fried brown rice

– shaved brussels sprouts salad with apple, lemon

– salads w/ hardboiled eggs, tomato, olives

– eggs with zucchini pancakes

Oh, hey.

September 20, 2014


Oh, hey.

Yeah, it’s been a while.  You know how it goes. So many things happened! Like, the worst winter of my life! Seriously, that shit was whack.

But, the spring and summer were better.

I moved! To a great little railroad apartment in the still Polish part of Greenpoint. I immediately ripped apart the entire tiny kitchen and reorder it to my liking. It’s sunny and small.

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I ate a lot of good food. Some that I made. Some that my friends made. Not a lot that stranger’s made. I ate this food on the beach and on lakes and around my new dining room table. Some that a private chef made while he listened to a table full of women talk serious trash. My best friend got married and I catered cocktails and sides for a hundred people.

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I started taking care of myself. Like, seriously. I finally figured out that my love of swimming translates into real physical activity. I started swimming laps at a public pool overwhich the sun rose. I’m starting to get neck muscles. I’m drinking less and sleeping more. I’m working with a nutritionist. After six months of feeling so, so bad, i’ve started to feel so, so good. And if i’m being honest, it’s the first time in my life that it doesn’t feel like a phase.

As the summer ended I moved the laps indoors to a beautiful 1920’s bath house. My best mornings involve a swim, a Blue Bottle coffee, and a ferry ride across the East River. I will be able to swim a mile by next summer, mark my chlorinated words.

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