Monday, August 15, 2016

This Week...Beyond Money 8/1 - 8/14 TWO WEEKS

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.
* I harvested basil and scallions from the garden.
* I fed the bunnies some greens from the farm.
* I harvested small amounts of herbs to use in cooking: oregano, parsley, marjoram, oregano.

* I made caprese salad with brandywine tomatoes and basil from the farm (free), fresh mozzarella ($2.50/half pound on manager's special), and reduced balsamic vinegar (from Salvage grocery).
* We got a foil-package of tilapia with seasonings on manager's special for $3 (about a pound). We used it the next day.
* I made trash chili. I used all the tomatoe rinse water from the freezer, a can of kidney beans ($.35 from salvage grocer), two jars of dehydrated tomatoes, half a jar or dehydrated peppers, a medium sized onion, a half a bulb of garlic and the leftover tomato sauce and meatballs.

Food Preservation:
* I put up 2 meal-sized portions of tomato sauce. I had planned to learn to can this year, but it just isn't happening. So, since I do have access to free tomatoes, I am making a plain sauce and freezing to use as sauce or soup later. I will season as needed.
* To reduce cooking time on my tomato sauce (especially since most of the free tomatoes I get are not paste tomatoes), I have been straining off some of the juice. I have frozen around a gallon of tomato juice in pint or half-pint jars. I will use these as refreshing drinks. I know that this may make my resulting sauce a little less flavorful, but it so significantly saves on cooking gas that it is worthwhile (plus I get this lovely byproduct).
* I froze tons of banana and jalapeno peppers, whole except guts removed. These will be used for stuffed peppers and poppers later.
* I froze 4+ pounds of diced sweet peppers.
* I froze diced scallions and garlic scapes.
I found this at the art museum. I couldn't
believe people would pay so much for
fake records to use as placemats when
thrift stores have them for a quarter or less!

* We took my parents out for dinner one evening. They towed Trucker's car when it broke down, and we wanted to show them how much we appreciated them. They don't usually eat out, except for fast food, so we took them to a nicer (although not outrageously priced) restaurant. We had a great time hanging out with them.
* My friend made us a huge Egyptian feast to say thank you for helping her get settled in. She served two roast ducks, two types of mashi, black-eyed peas, a delicious Orzo soup, salad and this fantastic semolina cake. She served an alcohol-free peach malt drink and iced water. Afterwards, we all sat out on the balcony and sipped mint tea and talked. We love the whole family and had a wonderful time. She sent us home with leftovers, so we got a second feast.
* I met up with my friend for lunch when I was working thefarmers market. She shared her lunch from work with me. I brought her a couple pluots and a bag of candy for her kids.
* we want our for a few coffee dates.
* I took Doodles out for her birthday breakfast (she was sick the day of). I had a groupon for a superhero themed restaurant. Afterwards, we walked around the art museum for an hour or so (it was free that day).

* We went out for several 45 minute nature walks/hikes.

* I worked a little overtime.
* I came home for lunch a couple times to see Trucker and packed a lunch two days. One day the boss bought lunch.
* I brought home tons of seconds: tomatoes, peppers, okra, swiss chard, garlic, onions, potatoes, and more.

* Trucker had a big week. So last week he had his first paid acting gig. This week he had a meeting with an agent. He signed a one-year contract with them! I am so proud of him and so excited to see what he does in the next year.

* Trucker's car broke down. My parents towed it back to my uncle's place. He fixed it for $30.

* We had a farm tour this weekend. Even though I wasn't required to be there, Trucker and I went for the first half. It was great getting to meet new people who were excited about what we are doing.
* I found some candles on sale for 90% off, making them $.30-1.70 each. I bought a few for me and three extras. I used these for a housewarming gift for my friend who just moved from Cairo last month and a birthday gift for a coworker. Trucker gave the last one to his boss' wife. His boss gives him a lot of useful items, so Trucker likes to do nice things for them too.
* I gave my uncle some tomatoes from the farm. I also gave my parents some tomatoes and a cucumber.
* My boss took all of us out for lunch to celebrate a coworker's birthday. She took us to this fantastic deli. It was so sweet of her and we all had a great time.
* Someone at the farmers market gave me a bag of granola.
* At the farmers market we sell at, there was a festival. I was a judge for a food contest.
How was your week?

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