Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Remember that ol' slogan, "Reduce Reuse Recycle"? Well, I'm taking on the Reduce part in a specific way related to the S-word: Stuff.

We're definitely on the road to less, but where less equals more. Confused? Sure. It may seem strange, but we feel like we would be happier with less stuff. Less stuff for us means buying less stuff, and getting rid of lots of the stuff we already have. It's about having enough, but not too much. 'Cuz too much stuff means we are drowning in clutter. I don't know about you, but I'm no good at treading water, and when I'm surrounded by stuff I feel like I can't stay afloat. When my space is sparse, I feel more open in mind and body and there is room for opportunity and a higher quality of life.

Following blogs has been a good source of inspiration. Take, for example, The Minimalist Mom.

There are also TED Talks about the topic, like Graham Hill, Less is More.

This idea, instigated in our family by my husband, has slowly made a difference through our actions. We decline buying something just because it's on sale. We continuously attempt to de-clutter our living spaces. We have a big pile in the basement ready for the next garage sale, so in everyday life when we come across something we don't think we need anymore it can go down in the pile instead of leaving it where it is for lack of knowing where else to put it. We save money. We aren't sucked into instant gratification. We feel a nice sense of freedom. Freedom from attachment to stuff. So far, it's a pretty sweet way of life.

My current project involves cutting my wardrobe down by 50%. I started this a few days ago and have about a third of my clothes in a 'give away or sell' bin. I still have a bit of a challenge ahead, but it sure does feel good to pare down to what I need. Or at least what I think I need at this point. More to come on this and reducing Little Bean's wardrobe too.

One last note about this before I head out: I realize the total luxury I have in being able to reduce what I own. Not everyone has this privilege.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My guts are going to get me back for this

My dog's breath?

The midday sun?

Our curry meal tonight?

Okay, so when a cookbook recipe indicates to put in an entire tablespoon of cayenne pepper in your meal, don't do it. Read it. Laugh at the losers who actually follow the recipe. And maybe then refrain from adding any cayenne pepper at all. Holy bah-jeezuz. Whatever you do, don't put a tablespoon of cayenne pepper in the meal. H-O-T.

We tamed it down just barely enough to ingest it by adding plenty of rice, some fresh cilantro, and piles of plain yoghurt.

I just updated my Facebook status saying, "The Mushroom Medley Curry I made tonight is burning my insides... I'm afraid for tomorrow's release."

It is quite possible that Little Bean may have pretty severely sour farts after a good breastfeed later tonight.

"Do you think eating lots of ice cream will help?" I asked Papa Bean.

"It can't hurt."

"I'm still scared. And my gums are in pain."

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cooking a Feast, or Five

A friend of mine said she was saving money by doing meal planning. I knew exactly what she was talking about because when it's 4:30PM and I'm already hungry, I venture over to the grocery store, which is viciously close to our house - 30 second walking distance(!), and I inevitably spend $30-$50 and end up with some junk food fillers and one meal. What!? That's insane. Yes, I said it: INSANE.

My friend claims she can spend $200 on 12 days worth of meals. Twelve whole days. Wow. I can't even really think about twelve meals let alone days, but it sounded like I should give this a try since we're attempting to eat better (i.e., change up the variety so we're not eating the same ol' eggs in every meal) and save money (who doesn't need to save cash? p.s. we have a mortgage and I'm a stay-at-home, non-moolah-making mama).

Project Meal Planning started off on a good go: I selected three recipes I know well, and two I have never tried before. Meals were selected on freezing ability and the amount of food the recipe makes (copious = better, as long as it can all fit in our small freezer). I also figured into Project Meal Planning the fact that I can eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning (we already have the Costco-sized bag of oats), and lunch can consist of leftovers from amazing dish from the night before. The recipe finalists are: Enchiladas, Yam and Peanut Soup, Glory Bowl, Veggie Burgers, and Mushroom Medley Curry. Deep appreciation goes out to Whitewater Cooks, Rebar, and Vij's At Home, my three favourite cook books.

One heck of a grocery list resulted in an hour and a half at the grocery store. I enhanced my shopping experience by going to the lovely Thrifty's down the street instead of the slacker Save-On across the road (that's a whole other blog post in the making). I spent $198.26 on food for these five recipes, which will make approximately, at a very minimum, 20 dinner meals (if each recipe makes four servings, but they typically make way more). Twelve meals? Ha! I've got you in the bag, Meal Planning. I'll also note here that of the nearly two hundred smackers I spent on groceries, I purchased a bunch of organic nuts on sale, two huge tubs of peanut butter (two for one!!), and big bags of spices good for many future meals in Project Meal Planning. I'm thinking the next five-recipe grocery extravaganza will come in well under $150.

Only trouble is.... now that I have this huge pile of groceries, I have to actually cook it all! Keeping myself in the moment, I'm taking things one step at a time. Today's meal: enchiladas, which also helps to serve as a dish for tonight's Gluten Free Mexican Potluck. Yep, you heard that right. I'm going to go back to the store for some gluten free corn tortillas, but other than that, we're all ready. "Por favor, comer la enchilada!" I don't actually speak Spanish, but Google translate tells me this is "please eat the enchilada".

If I have time this afternoon, I'll take a crack at another recipe. And when I say, "if I have time", I mean, if my Little seven-month-old Bean takes another two-and-a-half hour nap just like he did this morning. What are the chances he'll nap that long again? Not great. But I can always hope. Although.... the sun is now shining and my bike hasn't seen the pavement for a while..... There's always tomorrow to cook up a storm, right? -- Ack! Little Bean just discovered the dog's water dish and is currently smacking in and drinking less than clean water. Gotta go!