Groceries, January 6

retro-mom-money-images-Graphics-Fairy004

In the spirit of beginning as you mean to go on, I went out today for groceries. I am seriously re-thinking my plan to shop of Saturdays as a result. What chaos! I really cannot handle being out in the shops when its so busy. I’m not exactly sure how I can adjust my schedule, but in the interest of self-care (mental health!), I really think it has to happen. I did stop by Baskin-Robbins and treat myself to a free scoop of ice cream in honor of my birthday. That was nice. And gave me a few minutes to get over some of my annoyance.

Anyway, I didn’t need a lot of stuff, but took the opportunity to stock up on convenience items to ensure this semester runs more smoothly. Between the trail mix I bought today and the cracker packs and the granola bars I picked at BJs in December I should be set with healthy-ish snacks to prevent fast food or take out emergencies. I also grabbed some cans of beans because I think cooking from dry might be an unrealistic expectation right now. I also picked up a half gallon of orange juice earlier in the week when I was also picking up cold meds.

Jan 6 2018__Pantry

Pantry/Snacks

  • Trail Mix, 2 boxes @ $3.49/ea
  • White Vinegar, $.79
  • Tortilla Chips, $1.59
  • Powdered Sugar, 2lbs @ $1.49

Total: $10.85

I ran out of powdered sugar over the holiday and like to have some on hand, although I use it pretty infrequently.

Jan 6 2018__Produce

Produce

  • Tri-Color Peppers, 2 pks @ $1.69/ea
  • Organic Bananas, 2.08 lbs @ $.59/lb
  • Lemons, $2.99
  • Jalapeno Pepper, $.15
  • Frozen Cut Green Beans, $.89
  • Frozen Broccoli, 2 @ $2.79 (BOGO)
  • Orange Juice, $3.49

Total: $14.92

Jan 6 2018__Protein

Proteins

  • Yogurt, $3.34
  • Black Beans, 6 cans @ $.89/ea
  • Garbanzo Beans, 4 cans @ $.89/ea
  • Unsalted Cashews, $12.99
  • Tuna, 4 cans @ $.99

Total: $29.19

Lots of canned beans, a big thing of unsalted cashews even though I just need a small amount for a recipe — we’ll eat them. And yogurt for Michael’s breakfast.

My total for the week is $54.96.

 

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Recipe: Pasta with Greens and Ricotta

pasta greens ricotta

Y’all, I have been stupidly sick since last weekend. Among other things, I am so disappointed that the beautiful week of free time that would allow me to be productive turned into a week of convalescense. I still have a cough, but I’m hoping that things have turned far enough past the corner that sleep and breathing is a reasonable expectation for tonight. So, although that really isn’t an intro for this recipe, I can say that this is a very easy recipe to follow even when you’re feeling seriously under the weather. It also has good things in it — greens, garlic, olive oil — that I think nourish a body.

This recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, which was my staple cookbook during and immediately following college and grad school. It still contains many of my favorite recipes. As may be expected, I follow this (and any) recipe loosely, tonight using arugula and frozen spinach for the greens, cottage cheese for the ricotta and adding a bit of parmesan to the sause in addition to sprinkling it on top. I also used just 12 oz of pasta and since I didn’t really measure* my greens (or, lets be honest, any of the ingredients), I ended up with a decent amount of leftover sauce to throw in the freezer. This really tastes like the greens you use. It’s not a cheese sauce with some greens added to it. So please take that into consideration if you make it — this is not going to taste like spinach mac and cheese.

Pasta with Greens and Ricotta

Serves 6 – 8

  • 1 bunch watercress (about 1 cup chopped), stems removed
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, tough staks removed (about 4 cups chopped0
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • dash of salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 lb pasta (short and chunky works best here)
  • grated Parmesan or crumbled ricotta salata, chopped tomatoes, and/or toasted walnuts to serve over top (optional)
  1. Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil.
  2. While the water heats, rinse the watercress and chard well, shake off any excess water, and chop corasely.
  3. Saute the garlic in the oil for a minute, until soft and golden, taking care not to scorch it. Add the damp greens and saute, stirring often, until they are wilted but still bright green. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and remove from the heat.
  4. In a blender, puree the cooked greens with the ricotta until smooth and evenly colored. Use pasta water to thin if necessary (I have used up to 3/4 cup). Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  5. When the water boils, stir in the pasta, cover, and return to a boil. Then uncover the pot and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and immediately toss wiht the sauce in a warmed serving bowl.
  6. Top with cheese, tomatoes, and/or nuts.

According to the cookbook, the nutritional breakdown per 8 oz serving is:

313 calories, 12.2 grams protein, 7.5 grams fat, 49.3 grams carbohydrate, 200 mg sodium, 12 mg cholesterol

*I eyeball, and I’m fairly accurate, but it’s not an exact science.

 

Wardrobe Planning: Career Transition Edition

slurpies and straws flickr

Posted by slurpiesandstraws on flickr and pretty well sums up how I feel about my clothing lately.

I’ve enjoyed my years off of the professional grind, especially in regard to my wardrobe. I’m lucky that right now comfort can be my main priority. But as I look ahead to graduation, I know that I need to transition to a more professional wardrobe. I also need to beef up the pieces in my wardrobe that work for my current season. And I need to reduce the amount of clothing in my closet by, oh, 60%. I have A LOT — TOO MANY — clothes. Part of the problem, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously, is that I have quite a bit of nice clothing in a size that no longer fits me. I am DETERMINED to get my fitness level back on track this year, although that might not mean I’ll actually fit into those pieces of clothing again. But it makes it hard for me to get rid of really nice things just to have to buy them over again. I have a plan for that, but for now lets address what it is I wear regularly and how I need to pare down my accessible clothing to reflect that wardrobe so I can access those clothes quickly and easily and keep up with laundry because I don’t have two thousand things lingering in my closet obscuring what I usually wear.

What follows is a list of clothing that I wear NOW (fall, winter, spring) and doesn’t include some warmer weather items, although honestly even in a casual environment I can’t really get away with wearing shorts to my internship site or work. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what I own, but I’m planning that by the time I need to talk in real terms (so—probably in the summer) about my professional wardrobe, I’ll have gone through and eliminate quite a few of those items.

Work/Internship/School

Pants/Slacks

  • Leggings
    • 1 black
    • 1 navy
    • 1 maroon patterned
    • 1 marled gray & black
  • Skinny Jeans
    • 1 pair, but need to be replaced
  • Cropped Jeans
    • 1 pair
  • “Boyfriend” Jeans
    • 1 pair, okay shape
  • Black Straight Legged Knit Trousers
    • 1 pair, okay shape
  • Navy Striped Wide-Legged Linen Slacks
    • 1 pair, seasonal

Nine pairs of pants/leggings, give or take, with one needing to be replaced. I kind of want another pair of leggings, but that is really just because I am a recent convert to how COMFORTABLE they are!

Skirts

  • Black and Cream Variegated Stripe Maxi
    • Most professional of the maxi skirts I own
  • Black and White Stripe Maxi
    • A bit sheer, but workable with a slip
  • Navy & Red Striped Maxi
    • A bit too small, on it’s way out
  • Black and Grey Striped Maxi
    • A little too big, fine for at home, but not great for work
  • Black Maxi
    • Ok, starting to show age, but doable
  • Khaki Linen A-Line Skirt
    • Ok, I rarely wear because I forget about it
    • Hits at knee

Six skirts, two of which probably need to be retired from my work wardrobe.

Tops/Dresses

  • Olive Green Swing Dress
    • New, great over leggings
  • Black Swing Dress
    • New, great over leggings
  • Black Boatneck Swingy Top
    • Good shape, nice with skirts
  • Navy Top w/Lace Panel
    • Good shape, nice with the linen trousers & navy/red skirt
  • Navy Floral Button Down
    • A little small, but I wear it open over a tank and it looks nice
  • Khaki button down
    • I like this shirt but never wear it
  • Navy Button Down
    • Nice, but again, I rarely wear it
  • A Variety of “Nicer” Tees (red, pink, blue, white, black, striped)
    • I wear these mostly with shorts or the cropped jeans
    • More of a warm weather staple

Seven dresses and/or dressy tops, excluding the tees, which I listed just as a reminder to myself. I would like to increase this category by one dress and two tops, to make my outfits a bit more versatile.

Cardigans/Jackets

  • Black Denim Biker Style Jacket
    • This is cute w/the black trousers and the black dress
  • Black & Grey Striped Cardigan
    • Nice, plush knit, drapey and my favorite
    • But starting to show its age — its several years old and I wear it ALL the time
  • Dressier Black Knit Cardigans (2)
    • Also a drapey knit, but thin
    • I wear these a lot, but they are both 3/4 sleeve, so not great for cold weather
  • Polka Dotted Ivory Sweater Cardigan
    • Sweater knit, ivory with small orange and grey polka dots
    • Really cute, but not entirely neutral
    • Works well with most of my navy things, though

Five jackets/cardigans. I would like to pick up a chunky knit, long cardigan at some point to help my black and grey striped cardigan live a little longer. I wear these all quite often, except for the denim, which is more outfit specific. 

Shoes/Boots

  • Knee-high Black Buckled Boots
    • These have a really low heel and are super comfortable
    • I wear them most with leggings or the khaki skirt
  • Black Ankle Booties
    • Cute, but limited — they seem to work best with the black trousers but not as well with leggings, unfortunately
  • Brown Suede Ankle Boots
    • Work well w/everything but long skirts
    • Moderately comfortable, so not always best choice
  • Gold Flats
    • Cute, but so on their last leg
    • As in, should have been replaced long ago
  • Camel Flats
    • bought as a replacement for the gold flats, but not as comfortable or as cute
  • Black Flats
    • these are hideous and I never wear them 
    • would be worthwhile to replace with something I will wear
  • Camel Pumps
    • super comfortable, by Sofft 
    • unfortunately they have seen a LOT of wear and need to be replaced, but the same design isn’t sold any longer

Seven pairs of shoes. These all feel somewhat necessary to me, although in reality I am wearing the gold flats beyond their expiration date because I really don’t like the black flats I have (although, as I’m typing this I’m remembering another pair of black flats…). Somehow they are the most neutral shoe I have. Anyway, of the seven, four should be replaced — the items in red immediately, the items in purple can limp along for a while as needed. I would also like to add a pair of navy chuck taylors, which may seem weird but would work with a number of outfits and be a tennis shoe I can wear instead of my running shoes which I should reserve for working out.

Obviously this list doesn’t include undergarments and I chose not to include pullover sweaters because while I have two that I wear, they really are too casual for most events. And everything else either doesn’t fit or works better in a much more professional context. I also didn’t include sleeveless tops because they aren’t relevant now and won’t be for quite a few months. So. All told that’s 34 items. With a desire to add 5 additional items but plans to completely eliminate (not replace) 2 items currently on the list, which would bring my total to 37. This is actually better than I thought, but a part of my problem is that so much of what I see in my closet is NOT these items.

Obviously I need to take some time to just truly get rid of things and be realistic about whether I’ll actually wear some of the things I’m holding onto and/or if I would — do I really need seven pencil skirts? I do have a small selection of dressy items (uh, dresses, actually) for more formal events and those are necessary. But overall it’s just time to have a CTJ with my closet and with the sartorial demon on my shoulder.

Meal Plan: First Week of January

Retro-Cooking-Mom-GraphicsFairy

I feel more serious about the need to meal plan FOR REAL after just how crazy everything got last semester. I really, really want this continued transition to a new career to reflect my ability to integrate what we need into our lifestyle as opposed to merely what I want to be true about us. And for right now that means recognizing that cooking on the fly just isn’t in the cards, especially on weeknights. And for the most part complicated new recipes are probably not going to be happening either — we really just need to get tasty and healthy food on the table with minimal fuss. I’m sure what that actually looks like will change a few times over the course of the semester and year, but for now I’m going to start out with a weekly meal plan and adapt as necessary. As ever, there are fewer meals listed than nights in the week, simply because as two people we rarely finished a full recipe in one sitting.

This week’s menu centers around the leftovers of a rotisseries chicken I picked up at BJs Saturday. And a traditional New Year’s meal on Monday.

  • Chicken Noodle Soup, Veggies & Dip, Chips & Dip, Cheese & Crackers (New Year’s Eve)
    • We ate the soup early in the day and then just had various snacky foods out to pick at for the rest of the evening. Both of us are sick, so I doubt we’ll make it to midnight, honestly.
  • Pork & Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Green Beans (New Year’s Day)
  • Fritatta w/Veggies & Cheese, Toast
  • Chicken Thighs, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Apple Celery Salad
  • Rigatoni w/Creamy Spinach Ricotta Sauce, Steamed Broccoli

That should take us to the weekend, at which point I’ll be resetting to my “back to school” shopping schedule (Saturdays, ugh) and start posting groceries, too, just because it helps me keep track. We have a ton of food on hand, though, between a trip to PA over Thanksgiving, holiday sales and a stock up at BJs since our membership expires today and I’m not in a hurry to renew. We’ll see, but I think we can mostly get by in January with only buying fruit/veggies/dairy/eggs. What’s on your menu this week? Do you feel like this meme I’ve seen everywhere and REALLY relate to? 😉

current state holiday food