On Meal Planning

I may have come over to the dark side :lol:

I could never wrap my head around meal planning before.  And maybe I still haven’t…  I have always just winged it at meal time.  Protein, veg, starch, all made easy, plain, and usually boring but effective!  A little while ago I saw a link on my Facebook feed for a meal planning website that was giving a 30 day free trial – it is called Plan to Eat.  Now I’m not sure this is the best meal planning website, but I figured I’d try it out for a month and if it helps, great.  If not, I’ll just quit doing it.  So far I am liking it, a lot!!  It does all of the thinking for me!  All I have to do is pick recipes.

You basically import recipes from websites, add them to your planner, and it generates a shopping list for you.  You can add stores so it will just send the items to the store lists you usually buy from – like I know I will buy cheese and eggs at Costco so it just sends those items to that store list.  Really, I like it the most just for that reason!!  I like to try new recipes, but scouring through them and trying to write out a list just annoys me, so I don’t do it.  This does it for me, and I can easily delete items that I know I have on hand already.  You are also supposed to be able to use the list on your smartphone, but so far I haven’t been able to log in on my phone.  I just printed the list out last week.  You can also plan for however long you want – a few days, a week, a month, whatever!  I am going week by week, and only planning dinners for now.

This week we’ve tried a bunch of new stuff, some really great and some that didn’t quite work out so well due to user error ;)  But so far I am enjoying it.  I planned out another week last night and I tried to focus on using stuff we have on hand already.  Once I had it all done and unchecked items I didn’t need, I hardly had anything on the list that I need to buy!  I will have to add some staples and stuff for other meals, mostly produce, but I’m excited to see just how much we end up getting, and I hope it is less than the $150 we want to spend for the week.  I am going to do my best to only go shopping one day a week, unless we really need something that we run out of or forget to pick up at the store

Here’s what I’m planning for the upcoming week!

Chicken Alfredo

Beef tacos

Butternut squash and coconut soup

Baked sweet potatoes with caramlized onions - we will have some baked salmon with this

Crock pot beans with a ham shank

White bean and chicken chili

Baked farro risotto and green beans with hazelnuts and thyme

I am also going to make some Lunchbox Oatmeal Bars and these molasses cookies, just to use up some almond flour and carob molasses that I have.

 

Food Budget wrap up for the year

I won’t go into the details of what we bought, just want to catch up and finish out the yearly budget.  We did a lot of eating out.  We also bought a lot of stuff for Christmas dinner and to make goodies to give to my family and friends.  I guess it probably all evened out.

  •  Week 1 $84.46
  • Week 2 $157.60
  • Week 3 $163.30
  • Weeks 4 & 5 $25.58
  • Week 6  $166.90
  • Week 7 $146.80
  • Week 8 $202.40
  • Week 9 $208.57
  • Week 10 $280.10
  • Week 11 $195.90
  • Week 12 $150.20
  • Week 13 $188.59
  • Weeks 14-17 $140.25 per week, total of $420.75
  • Weeks 18-21 $127.50 per week, total of $510
  • Weeks 22-24 $90.28 per week, total of $270.84
  • Week 25 $168.40
  • Week 26 $175.60
  • Week 27 $89
  • Week 28 $89
  • Week 29 $272
  • Week 30 $216
  • Week 31 $43
  • Week 32 $80.30
  • Week 33 $172.26
  • Week 34 $269.50
  • Week 35 $101.30
  • Week 36 $366.80
  • Week 37 $150
  • Week 38 $110
  • Week 39 $200.80
  • Week 40 $268.32
  • Week 41 $94.54
  • Week 42 $141.70
  • Week 43 $9.28
  • Week 44 $147.66
  • Week 45 $132.2
  • Week 46 $261.1
  • Week 47 $28.40
  • Week 48 $205.60
  • Week 49 $119.10
  • Week 50 $162.30
  • Week 51 $103.40
  • Week 52 $155.20

So if I was spending $125 per week, that would be $6,500 for the year.

Our 52 week total ended up being $7504.75 (unless I added wrong!), which comes out to be $144.32 per week.  This is actually pretty great!!  That includes food for parties, and food that we put up, and all of my overbuying on sales :lol:

I don’t know that I’ll keep doing these.  It was fun to see where we are at and to be able to keep under the $150 weekly mark.  If I keep doing it, I’ll try to add more of how we are actually using the stuff up. I do want to try and keep less food overall in the house.  We have shelves downstairs that are overflowing with food.  All shelf stable stuff of course.  Just things that were on sale, and a lot of it makes sense but it doesn’t if we don’t use it regularly!  I’m going to try and be better about that this year.  Anyway.

That’s a wrap!

 

Throwback and new knits

I was perusing my old blog posts and came across this photo.  M was only 3 1/2 back then.  She is so adorable, and it just gets even better with all of the hand knit socks ;)  I kind of miss my blue bedroom too!

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I haven’t done much knitting in the past, oh, 4 years or so?  But I caught the bug today.  I managed to finish two hats today!  They are both gifts for friends.  The stripey number is the Turn a Square pattern, and the pink one is just a basic hat.  I love them both!  I’m calling the pink one the Cotton Candy Beanie.

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I hope that the bug stays and I keep on knitting.  It was quite enjoyable.

I took the weekend off from tracking because I was having too much fun.  We had friends over on Saturday night for Monopoly and Cribbage, and I had a few too many gin and tonics.  Oops!  I made sure to workout in the morning so at least I wasn’t skipping anything on Sunday.  Although today I did not work out either and I should have :(  Oh well.  I will try and get it done tomorrow.  M has been sick for a few days too, which doesn’t make things any easier.  I hope the kid gets better soon!  And that no one else comes down with it.

Cranberry sauce muffins

Yesterday’s eats were all about using stuff up in the fridge.  We still had leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, don’t worry, it had lots of booze and sugar in it so it was still good!  I decided to make some muffins for breakfast.  I used this recipe from Kitchen Treaty with a couple of tweaks, so I’ll share what my recipe ended up being.

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins (adapted from Kitchentreaty.com)

  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups leftover cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 egg

Mix all the dry ingredients together, then mix the wet ingredients together, then mix the wet into the dry.  I have a small muffin tin so I filled that up and still had more so I put it in a small loaf pan.  My muffins baked at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, and the loaf took probably 10 minutes longer.

We had these for breakfast with a little butter and they were so good!  I was only planning on having one, but they were so good I had to have another.  I also had a glass of homemade V8 and some yogurt with my canned pears.

SAM_1230

I was able to go shopping before work and hit up 3 stores, filling my entire trunk with groceries.  We were all out of salad ingredients and I’ve really been enjoying my salads, so I had to get more!  I also ended up with quite a few things I didn’t really need, but oh well.  Lunch was another salad :lol:  This time I added some chicken breast that I cooked the night before, some cheddar cheese, and olive oil and balsamic.  It was really good.

My workout of the day was an hour on the elliptical at an easy pace, varying the levels here and there while watching Arrested Development.  I am on season 3 and I love it, too funny.  I hopped on the treadmill for about a half hour after that and walked at an incline.  I was able to hit my 500 calorie goal!

Dinner was chicken teriyaki meatballs, sauteed kale, peppers, and onion, and steamed broccoli.  Pretty simple, but good.  I also had 2 cocktails based off of the Rusty Nail that Michael Ruhlman posted yesterday.  I couldn’t find the Drambuie so I just grabbed some whiskey that had honey added.  I think I will try to make my own Drambuie if I have this again.  I snacked on a square of chocolate and had some ginger cookies while watching a movie and winding down for the night.

My calories were 1946, Fitbit burn was 2504, and I managed 20,636 steps.

I guess my workout on Thursday was effective, because man, my back and shoulders are feeling very worked!  I was stiff and sore and uncomfortable last night so I ended up in bed around 8:00 :lol:  I’m feeling a lot better today though, so I’m going to do another strength workout and just take tomorrow off.  We are having friends over tonight for pizza, drinks, and cards.  It will be fun!  Just need to balance out the rest of my day so I don’t overdo it :)

More waffles

Real ones this time ;)  I accidentally pulled some pumpkin puree from the freezer thinking it was soup the other day.  Oops!  Now I have a bunch of pumpkin that I need to use up.  So I made waffles for breakfast yesterday.  They were quite tasty!  I used this recipe from Simply Recipes sans the cornmeal.  I had P.A.N. cornmeal and stoneground cornmeal, but the pan stuff seemed stale so I just used extra whole wheat flour.  They were really good!  And my waffle maker made 8 of them so they were only 200 calories for a whole waffle.  I had half of one with some cheesy eggs and 1/2 an orange.  Then I went back for a second waffle half.  There are plenty leftover so we will be having them for breakfast tomorrow too, the rest will go in the freezer.  They make great sandwiches for M’s lunch!

So not a real food blogger

So not a real food blogger

Lunch was salad again, a taco salad this time.  That one is self explanatory.

I said I wasn’t going to work out, but I actually felt pretty good so I changed my mind.  I warmed up on the treadmill at an incline at 3.5 mph for 20 minutes.  Then I did my weights.  Basic stuff – deadlifts, pushups, inverted rows with the TRX, and kettlebell swings.  I tried doing my kettlebell work sets with a 25# bell and it was hard!  I had to cut down the reps on the last two sets.  Toward the end of the night I was feeling worked, I guess that’s a good thing.  The whole workout took an hour and 16 minutes, and my HRM said I burned 356 calories.  I was tempted to get back on the treadmill and do some more but we had a school play to go to.

Dinner was leftover chicken, squash soup, and roasted broccoli and cauliflower.  Nothing fancy but still yummy.  I had a square of chocolate as a ‘finisher’, and at the play we all shared a small bag of pretzels.  When we got home I had a glass of wine while the others went to bed.

We are running out of food!  I prepped more salads tonight but now we are low on produce and some other stuff so I will need to make a grocery run in the next few days.

Waffle

Yesterday was good.  I got up early and got my walk in, about 40 minutes for 100 calories and maybe 3/4 mile, I forgot to check.  I didn’t have any other food prep to do so I decided to make a nice breakfast.  Here’s what I ended up with.

Breakfast

Poached eggs over sauteed peppers, onions, and kale, 1/2 an orange, toast with butter and tomato jam, and a glass of raw milk.  It was yummy!  The eggs went a little too far, I cooked them for 5 minutes, maybe next time I will go for 4.  Breakfast was at 7:30, and this kept me going until 12:30!  Lunch was a big old salad with the regular suspects and kale, kidney beans, my own pickled beets, and caesar parmesan dressing.

My afternoon workout was going to be running, and I probably could have but it was an orange air day so I opted for the elliptical.  I started out on level 1 for 4 minutes and then upped it by one level every 4 minutes, until I got to level 9.  I stayed at level 9 for 5 minutes and then worked my way back down in the same way.  It was SO hard!  Too hard I think.  I was exhausted after that.  I burned 400 calories and it took me 70 minutes.  I would so rather run!!

Dinner was a favorite around here, Alton Brown’s chicken with garlic and shallots, with some changes.  We usually only do chicken leg quarters, and use onions instead of shallots.  Still tastes amazing.  Every time.  To go with it I cooked a little squash whole in the oven, and steamed some beans.  I also baked the chicken wings from the whole chickens in the oven for about a half hour.  They were awesome too.  I also ended up having 2 glasses of wine and a square of chocolate.

Winner winner chicken dinner

Calories were kind of high yesterday, but I was just estimating portions too.  I was probably generous and so I don’t think I really ate that much.  It is all just a guess anyway!  (A link to my food journal if you are interested)  I had 2107 calories, and my Fitbit said I burned 2576 with 24,554 steps.  That’s a lot of steps!

Now for the waffle.  When I was doing the elliptical yesterday, all I could think was ‘this is not sustainable’!  I don’t think I could do that more than even once a week :lol:  I guess I knew this  new ‘plan’ would be too much when I started, yes only 3 short days ago :lol:  I don’t think I could really lose 2 pounds every week anyway.  In my history, the most I’ve consistently lost every week was 1.6.  So I guess I’m waffling on trying to follow through with this 1000 calorie deficit every day.  I think deep down I know that I’m probably setting myself up for another yo-yo cycle and I really don’t want to do that again.  So I’m just going to do the best I can.  So, scratch what I said before!

It is clear that with the air quality being such an issue here in Salt Lake City, that I will not be able to run like I want to this winter.  And I am not going to get a gym membership so that I can go run – it would just take too much time out of my day.  I was going to only do 2 days a week of strength, but I am going to do 3 instead, starting next week.  I will still keep trying to get up early and get a walk in on the treadmill, and I will do whatever cardio I can.  I’ll still count calories and try to keep around 1700, but if I occasionally go over like yesterday then it is no big deal.  I mostly want to keep track of all of the numbers to try and figure out my real TDEE (total daily energy expenditure), so I can figure out what kind of deficit I am really making.

So there it is.  I guess long term is where its at, and going balls to the wall for two months is probably just going to get me burned out and want to stop, like I have done in the past.  DUH.  I have to figure out something I can do for life, otherwise I’ll just keep repeating the yo-yo cycle and that is the LAST thing I want!  Ultimately I hope to get to a place where I am at a happy weight, I look good, and I listen to my body in regards to exercise and food.  I guess I really don’t care how long it takes.  So I’m listening to my body today and taking the day off after working so hard yesterday!  Plus we have stuff going on this afternoon and I won’t be able to work out, probably.  We’ll see ;)

Cold run

Today has been pretty good.  I didn’t get the good night’s sleep that I wanted though :(  Someone was snoring and I could hear him all the way in the living room, so I tried to sleep on the couch but it was horrible.  I finally went to the bed and got a little undisturbed sleep, but not enough.  I got up around around 5:15 anyway and by 5:20 I was downstairs walking on the treadmill.  I did 37 minutes to get to 100 calories burned, only 400 do to later!

I am going to try to start taking pictures of some meals, and putting up more of the recipes I make to make this a little more interesting :lol:  Until then…breakfast was scrambled cheesy eggs with toast and tomato jam, plus my morning coffee.  I had a co-op shift at M’s school today  and they had clementines for a snack and I had one too.  Lunch was a big chopped salad with some pickled beets, kidney beans, and caesar dressing.  I think I am coming around to the chop salad idea, this is the second one I’ve had in a week.  I usually like bigger pieces in my salads.

2nd workout of the day was the standard warmup and then a super cold run outside!  I went about 4 miles, didn’t time it but I think it was around 45 minutes.  I don’t know why I was surprised to see only 3 other people out there running, and only 1 walker.  It was only like 17 degrees!  I need to wear more layers tomorrow.  Dinner was some fajitas with corn tortillas and roasted cauliflower and broccoli.  I was going to have a treat, but I’m having wine instead ;)

All said and done, I met my goals for the day.  500+ calories burned on my heart rate monitor, just over 1700 calories eaten, and just over 20,000 steps on my Fitbit.  Not bad!  I wasn’t really sore before I went running, but man I am feeling it now!  Good thing I’m not lifting again until Thursday.

Re-committing

Well, I have to admit that I have been doing really poorly in terms of my health and fitness over the last few months.  I don’t know why I do this, but I just kind of let it all go out the window since I ran the half marathon in October.  Too much beer, too much food, and I am up about 10 pounds from then and totally out of shape again.  I really want to break the cycle.  Like I said, I don’t know why I do it!  But I keep doing it, so there must be some payoff in a really weird way.  At any rate, I’m going to try committing to being healthy again and losing some weight, and hopefully if I make it more of a public thing then I’ll be more likely to stick to it.  So for now, I’m going to try and just post a daily recap of what I’m doing and how my days are going.

So, today!  I got up and had coffee for breakfast :)  I planned on not eating until lunch since I knew we would be eating out somewhere.  I dropped M off at school and picked up K so we could go Christmas shopping.  We got almost everything we needed to done, and around 1:30 we ended up at Red Iguana for lunch.  I finally got the mango enchiladas that I’ve been eyeing for a while.  They were good, but I got full pretty quickly in since I was having a beer too.  I ate one and 3/4 of the other, along with some chips and salsa and a few bites of guacamole from K’s plate.  I was glad I didn’t get anything bigger or heavier.

After we got home for the afternoon it was time to work out.  I ended up getting a heart monitor over the weekend and I’m making it my goal to burn 500 calories with intentional exercise 6 days of the week.  I started out on the elliptical for 25 minutes to warm up and then did my strength session.  The program I’m doing only has 5 exercises each session but with all of the warmup sets and rests in-between, it took me an hour to complete!  I still had 150 calories to go so I did some kettlebell swings with my 15 pounder.  I ended up doing 500 swings!  It took me 10 minutes active time, but I took a lot of breaks :lol:  I’m not used to that!  But it felt great so I’m going to try and do it more often.  I still had about 60 calories to go after that, so I got back on the elliptical for a quick 10 minutes.  My whole workout time was about 1 hour and 45 minutes!

Dinner was a stir-fry with broccoli, peppers, onions, and beef.  Pretty tasty and I ate quite a bit since it was just meat and veggies.  Now I’m having a beer :)  And then I’ll be done for the day.  Tomorrow I’m going to try and get up early and walk for a bit to get a jump on the 500 burn and hopefully I won’t have to work out so much in the afternoon.  I’m planning on getting outside for a run/walk if the air is good.

I estimated my calories at about 1834 for the day.  My Fitbit steps for the day right now are 15,000.  That is the most I’ve gotten in weeks!  I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep and another good day tomorrow.  That’s all I can do right now, is take it one day at a time.

Food Budget Week 48

We spent $205.60 this week!  I guess that isn’t horrible considering our turkey alone costed almost $50.  We cooked a lot of food for 2 Thanksgiving dinners too :)  Here’s what we bought:

PRODUCE:

  • Apples $1.70
  • Bell peppers $6.59
  • Raspberries $11.37 – for a school thing
  • Broccoli $2.85
  • Brussels Sprouts $3.69
  • Carrots $3.39
  • Celery $1.27
  • Cranberries $5.00
  • Cucumbers $1.18
  • Garlic $1.77
  • Green onions $.99
  • Herbs $10.15
  • Lemons $1.18
  • Lettuce $2.98
  • Oranges $2.53
  • Potatoes $3.09
  • Salad mix $3.99

OTHER

  • Butter $7.59
  • Heavy cream $4.14
  • Yogurt $4.31
  • Turkey $8.22 for parts to make stock, $12.89 for sliced turkey for the school thing, $48.27 for a fresh 18 pound turkey
  • Kidney beans canned $5.00
  • Coffee $10.59
  • Gelatin $1.99
  • Mixed nuts $14.69
  • Bagels $1.78
  • Bread $9.47 most of this was for stuffing
  • Chips $3.00
  • Cookies $7.49

So that puts us at $6964.75 for the year, averaging out to be $145.09.  Still not bad!  We have loads of leftovers in the fridge, so I don’t see us spending too much on groceries this week.

New workout begins!

I am over and done with boot camp.  I skipped today since my friend was sick, and really – I’m over it.  So I stayed home, warmed up on the elliptical and then did workout #1 of the new program I’m doing.  It is the beginner plan from Nia Shanks’ Train to be Awesome.  I figured it best that I start with the beginner part, since I haven’t done any weights consistently for a long time.  I chose this program since it uses weights, kettlebells, and a suspension trainer.  I hope that it will be enough variety to keep me excited about doing it.

Today’s workout was lots of pushups and swings – I did 160 swings total!  I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to do warmup sets for the swings but I did it anyway.  I’m still trying to decide if I want to lift 2 or 3 days a week, I’m trying to figure out how I’ll swing it with running too.  Right now I’m leaning towards 3 days.  We’ll see!  Anyway, it felt good to do a workout, I hope that I can keep motivated and finish the program!