Monday, September 28, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money TWO WEEKS 9/14 - 9/27

For me, a life beyond money is making choices so that you can live the best possible life, regardless of your income level. Obviously, you have to make a living, but there are many ways to improve your quality of life without increasing your income levels and correspondingly your expenses. This regular post will be some of the ways that we improve our quality of life beyond just trying to make more money.

Life gets in the way of life sometimes, it seems. Last week was crazy, I worked every day and barely recognized what day of the week it was because all I thought of was which job I was working in the morning. Phew. This week, Trucker and I had a much needed talk, ran the numbers on our bills and income and decided that it was not necessary for me to be working this much. So starting this coming week, I'm limiting myself to no more than 4 days at the farm or factory. Considering that I still have writing to do, etsy listings to post, and pricing and cleaning the booth in preparation for the big party next week, this will still be a lot of work, but manageable. Hopefully. Sorry I wasn't able to get the blog post out last week. By the time I realized it hadn't been finished, it was Thursday of the next week so I decided to combine the two weeks.

* I continue to feed the bunnies tree trimmings. They love them. Nurse Ratched was the slowest to warm up to eating greens, but now, when I give her fresh food and water, she'll still beg for greens and devour them before eating anything else.
* I harvested 2 cups of lettuce.
* I harvested a cup or so of snap beans.

* We had tacos one evening made with 1/2 lb ground pork (I cooked the rest and saved for later), greens from the garden, salsa, sour cream and black olives. I also served pan-fried corn with jalapenos and garlic (peppers and garlic from the garden). Delicious meal.
* One busy evening, we used our rewards to get a free pizza from a chain (the points would have expired in a couple days). We ate half the pizza and the other half was lunch (with roasted brussells sprouts and peppers on the side).
* Went on my major grocery shopping trip for the month. I had some great scores for the week and to preserve for later: 6 poblano peppers ($.61), a huge bunch of turnip greens ($.89), 2 3-lb bags of onions (BOGO, so $.33/lb), 4 lbs of popcorn ($1/lb), 2 3-lb bags of carrots ($2.39, so $.40/lb), chicken breasts for $1.10/lb, ripe bananas (4 lbs for $.29/lb), 10 lb bag of potatoes ($2.49), a pound of bacon (free with coupon), a gallon of cider ($2.99), 3 lb of ground beef ($8.49). I got a coupon for $1 off the produce.
* I made a wonderful chicken noodle soup one day when I wasn't feeling well. I cooked all of the chicken breasts (about 7 lbs) in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours. I added some chicken bouillon cubes (I don't usually use them, but I'd gotten them for almost free awhile back. I keep them on hand for days when I need soup, but don't have homemade stock). At this point, the meat was quite tender. I removed the breasts, shredded two with a fork, and froze the rest for future meals. I strained the cooking liquid. I sauteed 2 small onions, a whole head of garlic (lots of alliums to help my immune sys), a banana pepper, half a zucchini, 2 ribs of celery and 2 large carrots. I cooked 1/2 lb of fettucini, broken into thirds in the chicken cooking water, and added the shredded chicken and veggies. I seasoned it with italian seasoning and garlic salt. It was fantastic. It cost about $2.25 and made enough for 7 meal-sized portions. It was dinner that night, with plenty of leftovers for the coming week when we'll be working some opposite shifts. Neither of us likes to cook for just one (but love cooking for each other), so we tend to just nibble instead of eating real meals on days that we work opposite shifts. By putting in a little effort on my day off, we can just reheat a real-foods meal for a healthy, but easy meal.
* I had friends over for dinner one evening. I grilled: bacon cheeseburgers, bacon wrapped stuffed hot dogs (stuffed with sauteed peppers, caramelized onions and chipotle jack cheese), zucchini and bell peppers. One friend brought a hot chicken dip and chips. The other friend brought a loaf of cinnamon bread and a jar of pickled garlic scapes (which I've just been nibbling straight out of the jar). For dessert, I made grilled bananas with whipped cream, a dusting of cinnamon and a drizzle of goats milk caramel.
* I caramelized 4 lbs of onions. They are so fantastic to put on everything, but take awhile to make. I needed them for when I had company over, and since it would take the same amount of time to make a huge batch, I did. They last a long time in the refrigerator.
* I made an apple crisp for breakfasts.

Food Preservation:
* I dehydrated lots of peppers from the grocery and garden and tomatoes from the garden.

* We got a free date at our regular coffee spot. I had a free pastry from my birthday and they had a promotion for free refills with a travel mug. Score!
* My friend took me to a meadery tasting and tour. She won the passes at a charity dinner raffle earlier this year. It was so sweet of her to take me, and I always have a great time hanging out with her. The mead was amazing, the tour fascinating and the company perfect. After the mead had worn off, we went out for tacos al pastor at this fabulous hole-in-the-wall taqueria she introduced me to. Fantastic. I got three tacos that pretty much filled me up for $4.50. Afterwards, we went to a thrift store. I got three items for the booth and a pair of winter boots ($6, new with tags, adorable black booties). Overall frugal day out.
* We went out to see a movie with our Movie Lovers Meetup group. Since we got the group rate, it was only $6 each (about matinee price around here). While we usually wait and go to the second run theatre or try to score free screening tickets, we were both really excited about this particular movie and are trying to make more friends. We really enjoy the discussions with this movie lovers group.

* We went hiking at a lake we love. The trail is a 4 mile loop that goes through meadow, grass, and forest. It's perfect!
* Another day we went walking around a park of Native American mounds.

* I got gas at my job where it was $.20/gallon cheaper.
* When I went thrifting with my friend, I talked myself out of every purchase I could. I only ended up buying 3 items that I knew I could easily sell with a good margin and just one pair of winter boots (even though I tried on 10 pairs).

Waste Reduction:
* I composted lots of weird things.

* Trucker brought home goodies from his job. We used these for breakfast most mornings.
* I worked over 1/2 hour one day.
* I picked up an extra shift at my regular job.
* I worked 3 days at the farmers market over the two weeks. I think this may have been my last week at this job, but I'm not sure yet.
* I was able to bring home an overripe cantaloupe, 2 busted zucchini and several peppers with bad spots. Cut out the bad spots and it's still delicious.

* We went out picking one morning and found the yard sale to end all yard sales. Lots of great vintage finds and everything was $.25. I scored some great stuff for the booth and etsy.

* I made some tinctures with vodka and herbs from the co-op.
* I haven't been running as much since I started working 6 days a week (both of my jobs are physical; the farm more than the factory, but I'm tired after a day at either). I ran two days each week. I'd planned to run more, but got sick the second half of the second week. I pretty much lay in bed for 3 days.

* I got sick at the end of week 2 and wasn't able to work any extra days that week.

* I had brought a cookie to one of my coworkers for her birthday last week (bought at an ethnic bakery on my trip). When I worked with her this week, she brought me a couple cookies she'd baked at home for my birthday. They were delicious!
* My parents gave me 5 plastic grocery bags filled with apples from their garden! Have to get cooking!
How was your week?

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