Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day #107: A Saturday full of good activities

I burned a few calories on the Wii using the newly purchased Wii Fit Plus.  It was rather entertaining! I ran, skied, hula hooped and laughed at my mistakes.

In Mere Christianity, I read the first 2 chapters. I find C.S. Lewis' book quite good so far! I'm also interested to know why his middle name is Staples...

I'll be on a "cash diet" for my food for the next three months. This month, I want to work on only eating foods that I cook and not eating out. I'll be eating the last of the lentil soup today and tomorrow. On Monday and the rest of the week, I have my lunches already prepared and frozen. I made a large pot of... well, honestly, mush. I wanted to use the split peas before they expire.

I combined:

6 c water (1 c to rehydrate the TVP)
4 c split peas ($2.26)
4 c crushed tomatoes ($1.23)
2 c celery ($0.50)
1 c lentils ($0.60)
1 onion ($1.35)
1 c TVP ($1.00)
3 tsp chili garlic sauce ($0.10)
2 tsp cumin ($0.10)
2 tsp mustard seeds ($0.30)
Total for all: $7.44

I sorted through the dried peas, threw them in a pot with the lentils and added hot water while I chopped the celery and onion.  After the onion was chopped finely, I grabbed a small pan, added canola oil and when it was hot, I threw in the mustard seeds, just to listen them pop.  I put in all the onion and then put my large soup pot on the large back burner, added 5 c water and when it started to boil, I put in the lentils and peas.

I rinsed out the middle pan that previously held the peas and lentils and added TVP, 1 c water, and 2 tsp cumin, set it to high and stirred constantly until the water had been absorbed. I added it to the stew/soup/mush and mixed in all the rest of the ingredients well. I simmered the whole thing for a few hours, got a small bowlful and deemed it edible.

Weird, but edible. I can get 10 or more servings, which makes each serving at most only $0.74. Pretty good!

I am not going to post a picture of it because it just looks like mushy peas with a few diced tomatoes. Nothing exciting.

Tomorrow, I'll be going to church, reading more of Mere Christianity and getting through more medical bills and eobs.

«Laura»

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day #106: Another trip around the sun!

We're also getting closer to the sun by inches each year. Or farther. I can't tell, and these astrophysics forums from my Google search are no help.

I made lemonade, watched the ball drop in Times Square (I turned the TV on at 11:56... I don't see any point in watching hours of TV personalities trying to come up with something interesting and restating the current time as much as possible), did laundry, played with Elmer and enjoyed sleeping in.

I read about half of The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing and it looks like I'm currently doing things right - starting early, putting away more than 10% and investing in a diverse set of low cost index funds. In 2010, I have goals toward saving more in my retirement funds. I skimmed the rest of the book and found that the rest was more attuned to the work I'll have to do with my portfolio in my 40s and 50s.

My mother requested waffles for breakfast, and I'm the designated waffle maker. Fortunately for (lazy) me, I made extra batter the last time I made waffles, so I just had to defrost the frozen batter.

I've decided to read Mere Christianity.

Tomorrow, sort through more medical bills. Buh.

Laura

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day #105: Preparing for the new year

I'm over my cold! Yay!

I have to do laundry today because I haven't in a long time. I'm wearing my last pair of socks (have some clean underwears left though).

In 2010, I want to achieve some financial goals:

I need to supply my Emergency fund just in case I have another emergency. That will be my first priority.

I'd love of max out my Roth IRA contribution, but that would take more than 25% of my net income. I'd like to contribute at least $1,500.

My 401(k) currently stands at $6,500 and I'd like to see it rise to $10,000 by the end of 2010 with help from my contributions and my company's contributions.


I want to achieve some culinary goals:

I'd like to attempt to write a cookbook. Lofty goal! I would like to attempt it to see if it's something I'd like to persue.

I'd like to devise a regular monthly meal plan so I can track prices and predict my monthly food budget. Currently, hitting my budget is difficult because I buy food whenever cooking the food sounds good instead of anticipating my needs.

The week of eating a vegan diet a while ago made me realize how delicious vegan and vegetarian food is. It's generally less expensive if you're using "real" food like legumes, beans and produce as opposed to stuff like tofu cheese.

I also have spiritual goals I'd like to work towards:

I've been enjoying my time with the Cedar Creek church services and it is continually meeting my wants. I feel that I should be involved monetarily and voluntarily By the end of the year, I'd like to be contributing 10% of my income and volunteer towards at least one activity and join a small group ministry.

I need to fill my spiritual needs. I was doing well until August, then I stopped praying regularly. It's a new year and a good time to rebuild my relationship with God.

I'd like to work on meditation and I want to commit at least 2 minutes a day to be still and relax. It takes me more than two minutes to fall asleep so I shouldn't have much of a problem. By the end of the year, I'd like to have the patience to meditate for a half hour, not necessarily daily.

As far as musical goals:

By the end of the year, I want to enjoy playing piano.

That's really it. Committing myself for closed goals for me in music ends in terrible disaster. I've never achieved any of my musical goals. I'm hoping the goal for this year will encourage me to play. I love playing piano very much but I don't choose to play because I just think about the time I've wasted not playing and how much better I could be if I would have practiced. Bleh!

And my last goal for 2010: Relax.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Days #102, #103, #104: Cold...

I've just been laying low, sleeping when I can, staying warm, drinking water and orange juice. I'm feeling much better, but I'm not 100% just yet.

On Monday, I went to the shoe repair place to hear that the shoe wasn't ready yet and the bank to realize I forgot my checks on my desk.

On Tuesday, I put the checks in my wallet, went back to the shoe repair place to get the shoe and deposit the checks in the bank. My father and I wandered around the grocery store deciding what to put in the vegetable soup that we'll be making today.  I finished Life of Pi, and it was quite a story. I was hoping the book would delve more into the story line of Pi being a devout believer of Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. After the shipwreck, one hears nothing of his comparisons of the three major religions. That realization was a bit of a let down for me. His zoo-keeping background helped him survive, and was interesting, but I'm not sure why his religious exploration made up so much of the first part of the book.

Today, I'll be making vegetable soup and reading another book I've been meaning to read. I'm not sure what one I'll pick - I have a suitcase full of books I've been meaning to read.  I also will be going through my hospital claims, bills and payments to see how much I owe. I don't the the hospital staff is figuring correctly.

Ugh.

«Laura»

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day #101: Salad, lentil soup and a cold

Oh noes! It is true. I have a cold. Stuffy nose, sore throat.

Luckily for me, I usually don't get colds. I haven't had one since December 15, 2007. I'll be battling this current cold with:

Plenty of water
Plenty of sleep
Orange juice (with pulp!)
Tylenol Cold
Warm lentil soup
Elmer

Elmer is a good kitty, and likes to stay around whomever is home. Today, it was me, mostly. He curled up next to me when I woke up and didn't feel like getting up.

I still went to church and grabbed the other ingredients I mentioned in the list.

The lentil soup was delicious!



For the soup:
7 c water
3 c dry lentils
2 c celery chopped
2 c onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
can of diced tomatoes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
canola oil
pepper to taste

I simmered the lentils, water and salt for 30 minutes while sauteing the onions in the oil and mustard seeds. I chopped up the rest of the vegetables and watched part of The Office until the 30 minutes of simmering was up. I tossed the vegetables and spices in the simmering lentil water, reserving my tomatoes while the vegetables and spices were cooking. After 30 minutes, I tossed in the tomatoes and stirred the soup and let it simmer another 5 minutes.

The recipe says to drizzle red wine vinegar on top of the soup when serving. I was hesitant about that, but turn out, that's a pretty darn good idea!

Thanks to Moosewood Restaurant and The New Moosewood Cookbook, and of course, my brother for giving the book to me as a Christmas present!

I'm looking forward to more of the soup in the next few days when I probably don't feel much like cooking, but would want to eat something warm and full of protein.

Tomorrow:

Bank
Shoe Repair store
maybe the bookstore

Night!

«Laura»