Cod, it’s what’s for Dinner

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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.

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.

Bottle Drop

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If you live here in the US, your pop (soda) cans & bottles have bottle deposits listed on them for some states.

Here in Oregon, we are one of the states that has bottle deposits that we have to pay on certain types of cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles. Our state has a $0.10 bottle deposit per bottle.

The bottles that have these bottle deposits on them are pop (soda/soda pop/coke) cans and bottles, beer cans and bottles, hard cider cans and bottles, Kombucha cans and bottles, single use water bottles, and that kind of thing.

From the time the bottle deposits were started until more recently (like the last year or two) many of the grocery stores had and have bottle return areas. Over time, many of them became quite dirty, smelly and gross. Quite often, when the machines were working you had to contend with street people who collected cans for the money. Returning cans and bottles has always been a less than desirable task. At least in the part of the city I am from, as well as the other nice areas, a lot of people put their cans and bottles out in the regular recycling, because the 5 or 10 cents wasn’t/ isn’t a big deal to them. Up until the last couple years we never really saw the amount of street people come through digging through people’s recycling the night before and early morning of Garbage day. Now it’s crazy. It makes me a bit unsettled, because they are out quite often at the same time I have to leave for work, which is before the sun is up and most people are awake (before 4:30 in the morning). While I know most would leave me alone, it’s hard to tell who would give me issues and who wouldn’t, so it’s unsettling. There was one instance that made me become almost hyper vigilant, on Monday mornings (garbage day on the other side of the road just up from my house) and Friday Mornings (our garbage day). There was one of these people standing in the corner just up from where I live, with his bike leaned against the stop sign, staring at me. I walked to my car fast and got in, and locked my doors. While it did work out OK, it just unnerved me a lot, and made me feel even less safe here than I already did.

That brings me to what I started this post about to begin with. Within the last two or three years, we have had several bottle drop / redemption locations open up here in the city. All the major cities here in Oregon have at least one. Outside of the Portland Metro area, they can be found in at least: Salem, Albany, Corvallis, Eugene, Roseburg, Medford, Klamath Falls, Bend and Hermiston. These are the ones that I know of.

I know at one point they were talking about closing down the individual grocery store self serve bottle machines (the dirty, nasty gross ones, where you have to deal with the homeless street people), and just having the bottle redemption centers, but that has yet to fully materialize.

I finally bit the bullet after the new year and set up a bottle drop account, and went in, got my card and bags. I was surprised to see that they also have self serve machines, which is nice to see. These centers are also kept surprisingly clean. Much cleaner than I have ever seen the ones at the grocery stores here in Portland, the one at the grocery store I went to, in the small town I lived in while in college was kept way cleaner. Though that small town didn’t have the homeless / street people problems that the bigger cities do.

Over the last month, I finally filled my first green bottle drop bag, with cider bottles I have been collecting over the past year or so, as well as pop cans, and San Pellegrino cans from last year. I finally had enough to fill a bag, and took it in.

Since I am still learning the process there was a fair amount to figure out, but I got it figured out, and I am set for a bit. The whole green bag system, definitely does make it easier in the long run. Boxes of bags have 10 bags, and cost $2.00 per box that is debited to your account, and each bag costs $0.40 to process, which is also debited from your account. There is also a limit of 15 full green bags that you can take back during a 90 day period, which isn’t really an issue for someone like me, and my family. There is also a daily amount you can take back through the self service, which is like 350 or 360 cans or bottles per day. Though the daily self services amount rules have been in place pretty much since the bottle deposit / returns have been in existence, or at least as long as I can remember so that is nothing new. While there are some other rules for the bottle drops, as far as how much, how often and frequency within that time period, exist and are available on their website, it is pretty reasonable for the average person.

Getting everything figured out in the beginning and the idea of everything you have to do to get started with the program was a little bit like “is it really worth it?” But now that I have gotten my account set up, gotten my first roll of bags and gone through the process of taking my first bag back, it’s not that difficult or daunting.

I wanted to get things set up an squared away while I still have a bottle drop like 10 minutes from my house. I know I am going to be moving away at some point, and unless I move out of state, I wanted at least this to be taken care of, so all I have to do is update my address and stuff in the system. Depending on where I end up moving in Oregon, I would be making fewer trips to a town or city that has a bottle drop, and now I am at a point where I have everything thing I need to make it so that I would only have to go to one of these towns every few months (which I would be doing anyway, to go do some stock up shopping).

Here in Oregon, the cost to have the bottle drop place process the green bags, is the same as the refund value of 4 cans or bottle, and if you figure the cost of a box of bags divided by the number of bags, is the same as two cans or bottles per bag, you are really only giving them or “losing” 6 cans or bottles per bag, which isn’t bad. I’d just as soon pay the $0.60 total per bag, and save myself the time and hassle of the serve and having them do it. About the only time it’s not quite as cost effective is if you have more 2 liter bottles than anything else (as they take up more room than the average 12 – 20 ounce cans and bottles). When you can fit more than 50 cans and bottles in a bag, it’s totally worth it to not do it yourself, especially when you can drop it off as part of running errands, and you still get most of your money back.

Christmas Sale

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The remaining Christmas products at work finally went to 90% off. So I picked up a few things, since I could get them for pennies on the dollar. I picked up four candle rings, two each of the two kinds we had in stock, as well as a mug and cookie cutter. Between the 90% off and my discount, I paid a total of $3.38 for all 6 items.

Now that the holidays are over, I am not drinking coffee anymore. I have also given up alcohol, and trying to watch the amount of sugar I consume.

I have also been feeling a bit poorly the past few days, and I am really trying to kick whatever is going on.

It’s the little things that help make it a home

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A couple of the few upsides / advantages / bonuses of working where I do, and the shift I work, is getting to see a lot of the new stuff as it comes in, and helping set it. So that means I get to see a lot of the new stuff first, and am able to pretty much get what I want. Having my employee discount definitely helps me save a little bit of money on the things I do want and get.

Even though I am trying not spend as much at work, which is sometimes hard (though it’s a bit easier now that the season is over), at least I am still able to get and use the $10 shoppers rewards when I earn them and the free coffee for every six bags purchased. So that does help a bit when there are things I do want.

This year, our spring transition has a lot of furniture and home decor for our post Christmas set. It seems to have gone a bit easier than the two sets we had last year.

The other day, I happened to have the cart full of the stuff that went on one of the empty fixtures, which was several vases and plenty of fake plants and succulents.

As I was working, I actually really liked one that I had put together, so I had picked it up. I had a base at home that I decided would be great for the two bunches I wanted.

This is what I had come up with, and I really liked it. My mom also really liked it, and wanted to steal mine, and I was like “no way Jose, even if I let you “borrow” it, I may never get it back. If you want one, you gotta get your own”. So she gave me money, and I got her one of her own.

It’s ever so slightly different from mine (not counting the base), that I can tell them apart, but yet have the same feel.

I love little things like these that help make a house and a room feel way more homey.

That is definitely one thing that I want to do again and more of when I have a home of my own. I did a bit of it in the last apartment I had in college, but as it was a rental and I was a poor college student (I didn’t have a job then), I couldn’t afford much in the way of decorations, but I did what I could. Over the years, as I have had jobs, and found stuff that I like, I have picked it up and been putting it away for when I have a place of my own again.

Simple and Homemade

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I have been trying to enjoy the few days off in a row that I have had. I was asked to go in on my day off yesterday (which is a normal occurrence this time of year), but turned it down, as I am already scheduled to work 4 days in a row this week.

Yesterday, I was able to get quite a bit done around the house. I got a couple loads of laundry done, as well as making dinner. I made chicken penne, with a mix of whole wheat noodles and black bean penne noodles.

I also baked the reindeer sugar cookies we picked up at the grocery store.

I definitely miss being on my own, having to budget, living frugally, and living a simpler life. I have finally come to the point where I know what I want to be doing, and how I want to be living. I have realized that it’s time to be looking to move away from where I currently am, to an area with a better cost of living. I don’t really mind not having a lot of money, and making due with less. I am also the kind of person who wants and needs to do more for myself and my future family, such as gardening and canning. Homemade, homegrown and home canned food is better than store bought.

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.

Making Lifestyle Changes

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Over the past few months I have been dealing with some health issues and not feeling well.

I am really trying to get my health in check and changing my lifestyle. I am trying to greatly reduce my intake of refined sugar, as well as increasing my fruit, vegetable, lean protein and water intake.

I am also using fewer products on my skin that irritating my skin, since I have been experiencing some skin irritation lately.

A couple days ago I cooked up some Chicken Quinoa Bowls, and made enough chicken and quinoa to make it easier the rest of this week.

This week has actually been pretty great weather wise. Last week was pretty hot and dry, and I didn’t like it. This week has been much cooler, cloudy and rainy. I definitely prefer the cool, grey, wet days.

Country at Heart, Living in the City

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This past week, we had more snow that had stuck, so my mom had taken a snow day. Between the two of us, I mixed up banana bread and she had made chocolate chip cookies.

Yesterday, after work, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up what I needed to make some more egg white scramble. I picked up pork sausage, egg whites and tomatoes.

Today, after work, I ran errands. This included stopping at IKEA, and looked around a bit, it makes me want my own place again, so bad.

I love how they are able to create a functional small space, that is also homey.

These are just a couple of the set ups that I saw that I really liked. While I would have chosen a grey sofa instead of the floral, and had grey walls in the living room, I like the set up and openness of it. The bedroom looked more rustic, like it could be a cabin in the woods.

Afterward, I continued on and went across to NW Portland, where I went to my favorite tea shop, where I had picked up even more tea. I had ordered a fair amount a couple days ago, and it was delivered today. It is totally worth going over to NW Portland to get my favorite tea. I definitely stocked up, and will have tea to enjoy for a while.

They packaged the box up very nicely.

As crazy as it may sound, if I had a job that I could support myself on, I may get reconsider living in the city, or a city anyway. That is crazy, for anyone who knows me.

Country at Heart, Living in the City

Hey Everyone!

This past week, we had more snow that had stuck, so my mom had taken a snow day. Between the two of us, I mixed up banana bread and she had made chocolate chip cookies.

Yesterday, after work, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up what I needed to make some more egg white scramble. I picked up pork sausage, egg whites and tomatoes.

Today, after work, I ran errands. This included stopping at IKEA, and looked around a bit, it makes me want my own place again, so bad.

I love how they are able to create a functional small space, that is also homey.

These are just a couple of the set ups that I saw that I really liked. While I would have chosen a grey sofa instead of the floral, and had grey walls in the living room, I like the set up and openness of it. The bedroom looked more rustic, like it could be a cabin in the woods.

Afterward, I continued on and went across to NW Portland, where I went to my favorite tea shop, where I had picked up even more tea. I had ordered a fair amount a couple days ago, and it was delivered today. It is totally worth going over to NW Portland to get my favorite tea. I definitely stocked up, and will have tea to enjoy for a while.

They packaged the box up very nicely.

As crazy as it may sound, if I had a job that I could support myself on, I may get reconsider living in the city, or a city anyway. That is crazy, for anyone who knows me.