Cod, it’s what’s for Dinner

Hey Everyone!

I had been craving fish for a few days, so I stopped by the grocery store on my way home from work yesterday, and picked up some Cod, and the makings for a blueberry crumble.

I stopped by the meat counter at the grocery store, to see what they had in the way of Fish. Cod was a better price than Salmon, so I got some Cod.

I am a huge chicken and fish person, I definitely would love to live in SE Alaska, do more fishing, and eat more Fish.

For dinner I had cooked the cod I bought, as well as green beans and almonds, and some sourdough bread. It was so good, and filling.

I also made another blueberry crumble. This recipe alone, made purchasing the Salmon Sisters Cookbook worth it. I had also picked up some vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream to go with it. I had used a stick if the melt dairy free spread in place of butter in the crumble topping.

I made a “butter” garlic sauce for the cod. The recipe I had found did call for butter, but I used my dairy free spread in the place of butter to make it dairy free.

There was a time when I used to be able to eat dairy, though I have been dairy free long enough that it is second nature to me at this point. I have definitely learned tips and tricks to substitute dairy free options for the dairy that is called for.

I am definitely wanting to cook at home more, and not spend so much money on “restaurant food”. Between wanting to live in a small town or in the country (preferably in Alaska), making home cooked meals is definitely something I want to get better at. I also believe that cooking at home is more frugal, and cost effective.

I am definitely trying to live more frugally, and as much as possible, do Cash Only, especially for the day to day expenses.

I wanted another one really bad

Hey Everyone!

I fell in love with the wild blueberry crumble recipe, it is so good, and so easy to make. I wanted more, so I made another one.

I had gone to Trader Joe’s on Thursday, and picked up several things, including a 2lbs container of blueberries, and a bag of organic lemons. I was shocked at how inexpensive the blueberries and lemons were at Trader Joe’s. I got the 2 pound container of blueberries for like $5.99, which was less than the price of a single pound at Safeway. I got a whole bag of lemons for like $2.99 which was a deal. I also picked up four bags of basmati rice for $2.99 a bag.

While I do like the fact that there are so many grocery stores within a close proximity to where I live, it is definitely overwhelming, and I would trade it for only having one grocery store in town, to be away from the insanity that is city living.

Of late, I haven’t been going out more than I absolutely have to, not really because of the pandemic, but because of how crazy it is here, and this lifestyle isn’t for me. I definitely do better / less anxiety with a more rural and slower pace of life with fewer people and more time spent at home. Moving to Alaska is still the dream / goal that I am working towards.

Hipster Fancy Pants Grocery Shopping

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This morning I went out in search of toilet paper, as we were down to our last package, and toilet paper is a prized commodity at the moment.

I ended up going to four stores, to find toilet paper, as well as other essentials that will last for a few weeks.

My last stop was at new seasons, which is local grocery store that carries healthier and more alternative (ie food intolerance friendly) and is definitely a hipster / fancy pants / organic / local products grocery stores.

I hadn’t been into a new seasons store for at least several months if not longer, and the last time I was in, they had more dairy free yogurt options than your average mainstream grocery stores, but not as many as they had today, I was amazed and happy. Being dairy free, finding dairy free yogurt that I like has been a challenge. I picked up several different brands, mostly vanilla, though one of the brands I am familiar with had black cherry, so I got two of those. I also got more ingredients for making smoothies.

While I am generally trying to abide by the stay at home order, I will go out if I actually need something from the grocery store. While I have yet to use gloves or a mask (though I did order one in case I do need it, especially if it means that I can go back go work sooner), I do try to get out early, and only get what I need, abide by the two meter rule, and get out.

This pandemic, has definitely shown me the need to get debt free, and have an emergency fund with at least 6 months worth of income saved, especially as I struggle with getting unemployment, like millions of other Americans.

Road to Getting Healthy; Week 1 update

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Now that I have decided that enough is enough, and that it is time to be focusing on living a healthier lifestyle, i have set my mind to it.

I have been taking my vitamins and probiotics on a daily basis. I have definitely noticed that i have had a bit kore energy this week.

I have also been doing my research into vitamins that ate made in the US, because one of the things i am really focusing on, especially when it comes to health / wellness / hygiene products is using / taking as many products that are made in the USA. I feel like they are a bit more reputable when they are made here, as well as the fact that i am then supporting my own country’s economy.

Since I started tracking what I am eating about a week ago, it has helped me curb eating put of boredom / to pass the time, because it makes me take a second thought about whether i am hungry at all or hungry enough to take the time to enter it into the app.

My goal with trying to eat healthier on the whole, is to lose a bit of weight, though nothing crazy, and have more energy, and be sick less often.

This week i did lose 2.8 pounds from what I weighed last week, and that is just from making some dietary changes. I didn’t really do much different in terms of exercise.

I am also hoping that with time and persistence, i can get out and do more hiking, which is something I enjoy.

Working towards Getting Healthy

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Through most of the season I had felt under the weather and had been sick a couple times. I have also been dealing with Bell’s Palsy since the end of September.

I was hoping once the season ended, I would really start feeling better, but I have still been more tired than I should be, and overall feeling unwell, as well as still dealing with Bell’s palsy, and a couple other issues, that I am trying to get resolved.

While, on a subconscious level, I knew that I wasn’t eating as well as I should be.

I have finally gotten to the point where I have had enough, and I am willing to do what it takes to get myself healthy again.

I am still dairy free, limiting my gluten (and breads in general), watching my sugar consumption, especially trying to limit anything with added sugar, and trying to get back to clean eating. I actually enjoyed clean eating, and I didn’t realize how much i enjoyed it, and how good it was for me until more recently when I have been feeling so unwell.

While i still am going to keep this mainly about Homemaking, trying to find and come up with healthy meal ideas that fit with the dietary guidelines I am trying to work within, and make it taste good, all falls under the homemaking umbrella. Don’t worry, this is not going to be turning into a weight-loss or fitness blog.

I still want to eventually live on some acreage, have a good size garden, and raise some of my own meat (at least most of what can’t be hunted or caught, that isn’t beef).

Along with needing to eat better, I am also needing to exercise more, and spending more tome outdoors to exercise. As much as I hate to admit it, this winter has been rough.

More to consider

Hey Everyone!

I have been considering ways to cut expenses, and what I can live without. I have also been greatly contemplating ways to work on saving money, and whether what I am spending money on will help me get to my end game, or hold me back a bit from it.

The life I am working toward and feel called to live is more one of simplicity, away from the city life, where I can raise a family of my own, as well as do more to live off the land, and be much less reliant on having to go to town and to the grocery store for food. I am also interested in cottage businesses, and being able to be sustainable from where I live, and that is more unconventional to how I was raised.

I realize that there are those who thrive in the city, and for whom the city is home, and can’t imagine having to grow and raise their own food. That’s fine, and I am not here to shame anyone for how they live their lives. I have just been disillusioned by living in the city and being dependent on grocery stores, when I can taste the difference between home grown / fresh from a local farm and home canned versus store bought. I also love doing it myself. I get a satisfaction at the end of a day from making homemade jam, or the end of a long day canning, or made a home cooked meal with fresh ingredients.

Now that I have far fewer hours at work, and also haven’t felt well for a while, I want to get to a place of better health, and working hard for the life that I know is right for me. I would much rather go to bed tired at the end of a long day knowing that the hard work I put in that day had a greater good than just earning a little money.

As far as cottage businesses go, the things that have been on my mind have been to sell some of the socks I make (that I don’t keep for myself), as well as handmade soap and candles. I definitely want to learn how to make handmade soap and handmade candles.

I also want to purchase American made when possible (like lodge cast iron skillets), when I need to purchase items.

I can live without having Smith Teamaker tea on a regular basis when Stash tea is plenty good enough, and a fraction of the price. I also don’t need to be shopping at work. I have spent more than enough money at work over the roughly 20 months I have been with the company.

Since the season ended, I am back off coffee. I have also made the decision to not drink alcohol any longer, as well as staying away from soda.

Giving up alcohol is not based on any moral sway, it is based on the fact of cost, and the fact that I am not really a fan of the flavor.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

What a year 2019 was. This holiday was particularly rough as well. It’s time to try to recover from the burnout. This season of work, has definitely taught me a lot about myself.

This year, I am definitely going to be working on getting my finances in order, as well as making some life changes. It is definitely time for me to be moving on from where I am, as well as finding a new job. I am also giving up coffee again, and I am also giving up going to coffee shops and Jamba Juice. The real cost of these trips has definitely hit me. There are and will be better uses for the money I have been spending. Even buying tea bags from my favorite local tea company, and making it at home is less expensive then buying it already made.

I haven’t been doing the Homemaking stuff like I used to, I have lost much of the desire I have had to do so, as well as not having much energy to do so.

I am also working on getting projects done, and working on knitting.

Yesterday, I had gone out with a friend of mine for a birthday adventure. We had gone to the Chinese Garden. Even though she lives in Kentucky now, she still picks up some shifts at her old job when she comes to town, so she was able to get a REAP card at work to use to get us into the Chinese Garden for free, which was nice. I also still had some money on my HOP card, so my bus and light rail fare was covered, so, I spent just under $20 yesterday. Though it hit me hard to pay over $6 for two donuts at Blue Star Donut company. It has also been a chilly, damp, dark, Rainy, Portland day. That being said it made me want to get more of the shawls I am working on done, as well as get a pair of rain boots. Being able to be out a bit more this time of year, and living a more rustic lifestyle is what I am drawn to.

Wasting Food and Money Saving Apps

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Over the years, seeing how much food, we, in the industrialized world waste, is very disheartening. It is disheartening, because there are children in this country who don’t have enough to eat. It is also a waste of money, and other resources.

I work in a retail store where we have a food department, that we call “Gourmet”, and I have seen so much product from that department expire and have to be thrown out because it’s past is best by / sell by date. While there are some cases when the food looks like it’s gone bad (primarily the chorizo and some other packaged meats), or it’s something that is better left unchanced, so yeah, write that off and toss it. Other things, like in my case today, bags of whole bean coffee, that had best by dates of the 5th and 6th of this month, and are still completely sealed in their bags, they are still good.

Even though we couldn’t sell them to the customers, I was able to purchase a few, and my parents will use them up. I had sent a picture to my mom this morning of what I had pulled, as kind of a “the amount these are worth at retail value would cover two of my shifts” text, and she asked me if I could pick up a few at a discount. My manager said yes (we have special discount stickers for food that is getting close to their expiration, but I was allowed to use a few for these bags that were a few days past their best by dates). Due to being an employee (not the same liability as a regular customer), and the type of product it was (whole bean coffee still sealed in its bag), it was one of those, “at least it’s all not a loss” situations.

Over the last few years I have tried several money saving apps. Quite honestly, the ones that are beneficial for someone like me, are the store apps for the stores I frequent, like Safeway and Fred Meyer (Carr’s and Kroger in other parts of the country). I have tried fetch, drop, and Ibotta. While I still use Ibotta, I only really use it when I shop at where I work, since there is quite often a 2% back deal. When the day comes that I no longer work, where I work, 2% won’t be worth going shopping at where I currently work any more. I use it, because it’s 2% in addition / after the fact of getting my employee discount and any other percentage off sales that are going on in store. When I no longer have an employee discount, the likelihood that I would shop at any location of the company I work for, would likely go back to the way it was before I began working for the company, which was rarely. Having an employee discount, and on occasion a $10 shopper reward coupon (one of the two coupons we are allowed to use) as well as any in store non coupon based percentage off sale we could use too, has made it so I could pick up a few things in terms of decorations (especially Christmas and Easter decorations), at a reasonable price. Ok, I was talking about “money saving apps”, before I went off on my tangent. So, yeah, once I eventually find a different job, and leave the company I am with, the likelihood I will continue using Ibotta will be slim to none. While there are deals for places like Fred Meyer, most of them are for things I can’t or don’t use, with my food sensitivities and lifestyle. I had been using Ibotta, the first time, under an old phone number, and I had forgotten which one it was so I couldn’t remember my points once I had gotten enough. It had taken me over three years to get to that $20. I started a new ibotta, with my current phone number about six months ago. I am now almost to $15, and more than 95% of that is from shopping at work.

These apps may be great if you do a lot of shopping at the places they will let you earn point for shopping at, but for me, I don’t shop a lot at most of these places. If I do shop at some of these places, it’s not often enough to earn rewards through most of these apps. In addition to that, I really am trying to be more frugal, additionally, I eventually want to move someplace that doesn’t have a lot of these stores, and live a simpler, more frugal life.

I am still going through my closet, and trying to reduce the amount of clothes I have, since I still have a lot that I don’t wear, and I have my favorites that I wear way more than anything else. There are some things that I will be keeping that I don’t wear as often, as they are more for special occasions (or church clothes, and for weddings and funerals etc).

I am / have been doing some spending on myself during this season, since I am working some extra hours, I am still single, don’t have a family of my own to feed, and I am still living in the city. Besides my favorite tea, what I am ordering specifically for myself,bare for accessorizing the clothes I am keeping, and taking them from two half season outfits (late spring & early fall) and making them wearable for three seasons, by having warmer accessories for the cooler temps. Most of what I am picking up at work, are decorations for my future home, so while I am buying them because I like them, I hope they will help bring joy and festivity to my family and anyone who comes to visit.

Creating Lasting Traditions

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On Friday, after I had gotten off work, I decided to make some gluten free, vegan pumpkin muffins.

I have been wanting Pumpkin food for the better part of the month.

Yesterday afternoon, I made a batch of homemade chili, which is fitting for the cook crisp days we have been having.

I also helped my mom make a batch of chocolate chip cookies as well as a batch of chocolate crinkle cookies, which are like brownie cookies.

Yesterday morning, I had to go to an all store meeting at work. Over the course of last week, our Christmas fixtures were set. Our holiday theme / motive is “creating lasting traditions”. Over the time I have worked for the company I am at, as well as other times, I have been slowly building up my Christmas decorations and Christmas tree ornaments collection. I have been adding things as I find things I like. This is the third holiday season I will have been with the company, so I have seen the ornaments for three holiday seasons now. Many of the ornaments are the same, and each subsequent season, has only brought out a few new ornaments. Many of the ones I have liked & bought from work, are the woodland creatures / Nordic / Scandinavian themed ornaments. The deer / reindeer has been a consistent through the three seasons. What is also interesting, is that Scentsy had brought out a holiday warmer with a similar looking deer a year or two ago, which I snapped up, since it fit in with what is starting to be my “Christmas theme”.

When the whole topic of “making lasting traditions” came up at work yesterday, I got thinking about the types of traditions I would want to make, if and when I have a family of my own. Many of which are simple, and won’t cost a lot of money. Things like making Christmas Cookies, and going and visiting some of the elderly, and bringing them some Christmas cheer, and watching “The Polar Express”, while drinking hot chocolate, and coming and visiting my family (as I don’t intend to stay in the Portland metro area), and do things like going to Peacock Lane, and the Christmas event at my parents church. I want to make the Christmas season “magical” for my kids, as well as teach them that Christmas is not about the gifts (even though they are nice), but about the birth of Jesus, and sharing God’s love with others.