Dinner on the cheap.

Tonight I made fried rice.  Not something I do very often but it’s quick and somewhat nutritious and I had most of the stuff on hand.  The only thing I had to go buy was frozen peas – I already had 2 lonely looking spring onions, a single little brown onion, garlic (which I forgot to use!), brown rice (cooked up a few hours before and chilled, it works soooo much better that way), a chicken breast and left over Christmas ham from the freezer, carrots that have spent far too long in my crisper, a few eggs and a combo of oyster sauce, soy sauce and sriracha.  Yummo!  I now have dinner for the next few nights, and maybe a couple of lunches for next week too (which I’ll freeze ahead of time of course).  This is excellent news, because I am B R O K E after hosting my family at Christmas, so I have no money spare until pay day next week.  That means cheap dinners are ESSENTIAL right now.  Anyhoo, here is what it turned out like:

Fried Rice 2Fried Rice 1

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Eating Ideas for One.

One of the suggestions I did manage to find that I thought might be useful when it comes to meal planning for one, was to make a list of the things you like to eat for each meal.  I’ve never really given this much thought – I either eat what’s there or what I feel like.  But I guess that’s part of why I’m carrying far too much weight and also spending money like water when it comes to food, so I figured this could really help me to start thinking ahead.  So here is an evolving list, divided up by meals.  This is stuff I either currently eat, or would like to eat, so doesn’t necessarily represent how magnificent my diet is right now, or how it should be.  I think there are things I’m about to put on this list which are either way too sugary, fatty or carby but the idea is to get all the things I like on there, and then work out how to make cheaper and healthier versions of them down the track.

BREAKFAST

  • Home-made granola, fruit and yoghurt
  • Poached egg on toast, sometimes with avocado & dukkha
  • Smoked salmon & cream cheese bagel/toast
  • Iced coffee with soy milk and agave (home made)
  • Egg muffins filled with bacon and mushrooms and spring onions etc

LUNCH

  • Chicken and salad sandwich
  • Fritata (though this can get very boring for 5 lunches in a row so I have to be careful not to make a massive batch)
  • Mixed salads
  • Wraps – including lettuce wraps which would transport a bit better I think
  • Fried rice (for dinner too)…god knows I have enough left over ham in the freezer to dispose of right now.  In fact i’m making up a batch of this tonight!
  • ….?  I think this list is a work in progress…
  • Roast chicken & Greek salad
  • Roast chicken & coleslaw

DINNER

  • Baked fish with salad or vegetables
  • Steak with salad or vegetables
  • Fried rice
  • Soup (probably less so now that I live in the sort-of tropics but I can’t rule it out)
  • Smoothie (when it’s hot and I don’t feel like cooking!)
  • Tray bakes
  • Pasta or rice dishes (not a huge pasta eater but I like it now and then)
  • Hamburgers
  • ….wow, this is harder than I thought!  It’s no wonder my eating is so hit and miss…

SNACKS & OTHER STUFF

  • Apples
  • Cheese & crackers
  • I want to try making some sprouted grain bread (Ezekiel bread) to have as toast, or in sandwiches
  • Boiled eggs
  • Hummus & crudites (carrots & cucumber)
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • hmmmm…there must be more.  I LOVE to snack…

Seriously, snacking is where I fall down big time.  If I prepared more meals and snacked less…well I think half the problem could be solved right there.  Watch this space…

 

Hello 2018.

So, this blog has been pretty unloved for a while.  Years in fact.  And a HUGE amount has happened in my life since then.  I’ve changed jobs…several times.  I’ve had a couple of major injuries to deal with.  And biggest of all, I decided on a complete whim to up and move half way across the country and managed to achieve that within the space of about four or five weeks.  Nearly killed myself doing it, but I got there…and what a wild six months it has been since.

I’ll probably get into a little of what that involved later, but for now, I’m doing a bit of planning for the year ahead while I have the time to think about it.  In doing that, my mind turned back to my little website, and I wondered how I could utilise it to help me stay focused and succeed in my goals this year.

I had been toying with the idea of resurrecting this site for a little while, mostly as a vehicle for writing rather than recipe sharing.  However there could be a little bit of both still happening, I think.  I’m no great goal-setter or resolution junkie, but I did undertake this big move in order to change a few things in my life (for the better, in case that isn’t implied!) and also to get on track to achieving a few of those ‘big life dreams’…which frankly, I’ve left it very late in life to do.  I’m staring a very, very big age milestone in the face and it really is now or never for me.  So…time to get serious.  About everything, really.

First up is giving some serious thought and more than that, ACTION to my finances this year.  I do this every year but intention goes out the window when expenses come calling, or something pops up on eBay I just have to have.  But there’s no getting around it…i’m in a precarious financial state.  I earn a decent wage, but always seem to be struggling from one pay cheque to the next, and any unexpected expense (like last year’s car dramas, which I’m still paying for) absolutely throws me for a six.  I’m carrying far too much debt and have no emergency ‘cushion’ in case things go wrong…and if there’s one thing life has taught me in the past couple of years, it’s that things can and do go wrong, often at the worst possible time.  I’ve never really learned how to save, and apart from my car, I have no assets to speak of.  At my age, that’s sort of embarrassing.  Its something i’m really committed to fixing this year…better late than never.  I hope, anyway.

So to that end, I’ve been drawing up a budget and trying to sort out where my money goes so that I can squirrel more of it away for a rainy day.  Hell, who am I kidding – there’s no ‘more’, there’s nothing, so I’m starting from scratch here.  With that in mind, I’ve given myself a savings goal and I’m absolutely determined to stick to it. I am realistic enough to know that I’ll need to dip into it for things like car registration or repairs, but the point for me will be the commitment of putting that certain amount aside each pay day, without fail, and learning to live on what’s left.

One of the things I know I already spend far too much money on is food – in fact, it would probably be true to say that food is my second major expense, after rent.  I don’t really plan, I just randomly buy, and as a result I don’t eat properly, and I throw away far too much food.  Which is a massive pain, not to mention expensive and a bloody waste.  And when I do cook, I cook far too much, and I end up overeating so I don’t feel like it’s going to waste.

Something has to give.

I live alone and while I wouldn’t change this for the world, not only is it expensive, it’s very hard to plan meals effectively for just one person.  In the spirit of preparation, I’ve done a bit of Googling, and hit my old friend Pinterest up to see if I could follow someone else’s well-worn footsteps in this regard…but surprisingly there is very little out there in the way of tasty, healthy, cost-effective meal planning for one.  I guess we’re a bit boring as a target market…far more hits involved when you put ‘family meal plan’ in there I suppose…and let’s face it, it’s far easier to plan meals when you can buy in bulk and stretch a little to go a long way and across multiple meals.  It’s a lot more difficult to save money and not waste stuff when you’re only buying for one.

Anyway…I’m going to do my best to really plan ahead food-wise this year, and save some money in the process.  As well as hopefully lose some weight.  Which I’m hoping will just be a welcome side-effect, rather than the purpose for what I’m doing.  I also want to cut out refined sugars this year also, but once again not from a weight loss perspective…rather from a health one.  So while I’m going to do my best to be ‘sugar free’, I’m not going to bang on about it.  At least, I don’t think I’m going to.  Might have to put a pin in that one and reassess in a month or so 😉

So that’s this year in a nutshell.  Writing, eating better, and saving money.  Shouldn’t be a big ask, right?

xoxo