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Interests: HaDavar Messianic Ministries, Calligraphy, Cooking!
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|since I posted a blog entry...|
The past month has been insanely busy! Dare I say, a good kind of busy... but busy-ness that makes me kinda grumpy and a grouch at work (it's never a good thing to be grumpy and grouchy at work by the way!) I feel so bad for my boss and I want work to be exciting again! So, I've resolved to take each day as it comes and be more content about my work, even when hard things come my way! Plus, I got 2 very "in-my-face" devotionals the past two days, all relating to God's greater plan. I hope I'll learn to be more patient and thankful through all the little struggles at work this coming month...
So... since it's been so crazy this past month, I've been really tired and I haven't cooked too much... I haven't even planted or done too much to my plants! I really need to pull a few of my strawberry plants out because some have "birthed" new baby plugs that's rooting quite well and I need to pull the parent plant out, possibly throw them out (depending on how the roots are doing) and plant the babies for strawberries next year. I recently planted a red bell pepper plant that's growing so big (within 3 weeks of planting, it has grown as tall as my blueberry bush - I started with a baby plant from Walmart) but not yet flowering although I see small flower buds on top... we'll see how it'll grow! I want a few bell peppers for the fall so I can make chili and taco soups...
The big blueberry bush is doing alright... It's growing more leaves, and more flowers. I see quite a few potential fruit in there but I did have to pluck a few scrawny looking ones to make way for big fruits to continue growing. And, I have another shoot coming out the bottom! I'm not pulling it out this time and trying to make another plant because my last effort failed... It doesn't seem to be hurting the plant so I'll leave it there.
My little blueberry on the other hand, is not doing so well recently... I think the heat wave burned all the leaves except for a small shoot. I need to dig it up, check the roots and make sure they're doing ok and replant maybe in a new pot.
Since fall is coming, I will start lettuce indoors! When the lettuce are big enough to eat, I'll make Vietnamese spring rolls with the lettuce, Thai basil and mint - all from the patio !
I am praying for more energy so I can cook more consistently, and to tend to my plants more often too. Hmmm... maybe tomorrow
I will do a picture filled post next if I think the plants look nice enough to photograph... but that might be a while...
I just realized that when the grocery challenge first started, I was blogging almost everyday and now, I'm squishing two weeks of the challenge into one post Shows just how much time slips out of my hand! But hey, I got sick this week and last week was just insane (my boss was going away on vacation and the week before his vacation usually means it's a crazy week for all of us!).
Anyway... I have to say last week was a good week! We didn't eat out at all (at least, not on our tab), except for a small outing for me and a friend. The total for the week was $48.92. Most were spent on summer fruits and vegetables. I spent $1.65 on Palmier cookies at a bakery and enjoyed some time with my shopping buddy. The awesome deal for week 3 $0.25 corn at Ralph's, I think I got a total of 12! I still have 8 in the fridge, for next week I also got a good deal on La Vache Qui Ri (the laughing cow) cheese for bento box stuffers, and some kiddie D'animals yogurt (for $0.88 per box, I don't mind eating kiddie yogurt, they're yummy too!). Another great deal was ground beef from Ralph's, 5 lbs for $4.95. Basically on week 3 I went to Ralph's twice (I wanted more corn ) and 99 Ranch once. At 99, I stocked up on Nata de Coco that I haven't seen in months! I didn't know they still have it so when I passed by and saw a bunch, I immediately grabbed some. I ended up not getting sesame oil because of the nata de coco (or I would've gone over) but that's ok, I got the sesame oil this week instead.
I know I made 5 bentos last week for each of us... but I only took pictures of 2 of mine:
Above is a spinach quiche (need to finish spinach quickly, it was going bad), the last of the cherries and grape tomatoes.
Above is a potato patty, gai lan (Chinese broccoli) and mini meatloaf. We're almost out of the mini meatloaf and potato patty now. I have to think of something else to freeze in bulk for the next few weeks... I'll be making egg rolls tomorrow so hopefully I can freeze them OK and have a freezer stash of egg rolls.
The above is hubby's lunch. He gets the same as mine but with extra taquitos (cleared the fridge of them, yay).
Then, he gets two potato patties, mini meatloaf and a plum.
Over the weekend, we went and delivered food for Vince's grandparents and we actually got to spend quite a bit of time with them, which is nice! Then, Vince's uncle and cousins from Cincinnati came for a visit and we all went out to dinner. I learned quite a few Chinese words after visiting with Vince's Grandma. I'd like to think I can understand her a bit better now than before. When we were ready to leave, Grandma plucked grape tomatoes and yellow pear tomatoes from their tree, so we had some in week 4 bento boxes. Grandpa also told me that he's heard of how I like to plant things, so he's starting baby tomato plants for me. They will be ready for pick up the next time we deliver food They're so cute!
Also, on Sunday, Vince and I met up with my old roomies to watch Shakespeare by the Sea. It's a summer production in Newport Beach. It's free (they ask for donations so we donated) and they were showing "As You Like It." It's a lovely production and I love being outside, having a picnic Here's what we packed for the picnic:
From top: Indonesian crepes (filled with ground beef, onion and eggs), homemade pan-fried turnip cake, Rainier cherries, lychee jelly cups and for something green, steamed and salted edamame!
So... now we're in week 4. I didn't shop for too many necessities this week and because of that, I was able to get some more expensive things for my stockpile. I went to Ralph's on Monday and got some sliced ham. I found a stash of "almost expired" lunch meats and grabbed a container of Butterball turkey for $0.59! Combined with some King's Hawaiian coupons, I was able to make some cute mini sandwiches for my lunch this week.
This is the only lunch I took a picture of this week, the camera battery just died! But it's OK... So, above we have the King's Hawaiian sandwich (mustard, turkey slice, cheese slice), Rainier cherries, Pear tomatoes from grandparents, and a plum.
Then, on Wednesday I got very very sick. I didn't go to work that day, and simply laid on the couch. I didn't cook that night (thankfully we had money left on the budget), and I sent the hubby out to get Carl's Jr. Funny but when I'm sick, I want junk food... We had a BOGO coupon so we paid $7.59 for 2 Six Dollar Teriyaki burgers and a medium criss-cut fries.
Today I'm finally feeling somewhat normal, despite a scare when I swallowed a melon and my throat started closing in at lunchtime. Eeeek, maybe I'm starting to have food allergies? Oh the horror... I can't imagine I know I can't eat too much melon or I'll get itchy lips but today's the first time it ever made my throat close! I called the doctor and although they told me to go to Urgent Care, I was feeling better after lunch (I threw out the melons). When I got home, I took a swipe of Peanut Butter (against nurses' orders ) because I don't know what I would do if I find out I have peanut allergy! Peanuts are THE ingredients that make South East Asian food what it is - South East Asian food.... I'm relieved to find out that no the peanut butter didn't make my throat close... but the cherries were starting to give me some funky throat itchiness... We'll see how things go on Tuesday when I go in to see the Dr. (I won't tell him I tried all these major allergens on my own...) I've never been allergic to food which is why I'm so... daring I suppose.
Anyway, today... I went to the Korean market and bough 6.24lb of red cherries for $4.93 (what a great deal!) and among other things, I managed to get a big tin of sesame oil. Sesame oil is like gold (or at least the price is like gold!) but it's cheaper to buy a bigger container, so I took a deep breath and paid $12.99 for a huge container (maybe 1 litre?). It'll probably last us a year or so, kept in a cool, dark cabinet. At this point, the total for the week is $44.12. I don't expect to spend anymore this week.
Toodles and have a good weekend everyone!
I've been lagging with posting about the All You Grocery Challenge, work has been insanely busy and hectic! It's a good thing though, keeps life interesting But it also means that I've been too exhausted to think of anything else other than cleaning the house and cooking, which already takes up quite a bit of time after work.
Anyway.... We did slightly better this week. I'm not planning on any more eating out or any more food purchases. Right now, the total for the week is at $47.87 but that's because we went out to dinner for my birthday on Tuesday. We chose a place that gave the birthday person $10 off It still came up to $33 after tax and tip, but we got a full 3 course meal each Hopefully the next two weeks, we won't be using up more than half of the budget to eat out! We actually have a Sonic nearby (recently opened) and we're thinking of heading out there sometime for an ice cream treat, maybe next week...
So... here's my first shopping trip of week two:
Ralph's had a buy 10 items get $5 off promo., and I have quite a few good coupons for the much needed Kleenex (we just found out Vince has seasonal allergies and he used up two boxes of Kleenex in one week ). So, I stocked up on Kleenex during the promo. It's hard to see but I have 5 boxes of Kleenex there (3 regular, 2 extra soft). The Kleenex won't be counted toward the Grocery Challenge but it was still part of my trip.
To qualify for the promo, I rounded up the trip with 4 bags of Quaker rice cakes for Vince. He loooves Quaker rice cakes and they were $0.75 each so I thought it'll be good to stock up for his snacks. And to make it an even 10 items, I got a container of Daisy sour cream and used a coupon to match.
Plums were on sale, squishy and juicy plums, so I grabbed a bunch. I ended up with 3.29 lb., worth of plums and at $0.49 per lb., I got the bag for $1.61 I like juicy, squishy, soft plums, not the crunchy ones... so these were really good! I also got a small head of cabbage to make the stuffed cabbage dish I planned on.
I don't have a picture of my second trip this week but it was just on fruits. I went to the local Henry's farmers market because they had a huge sale on blueberries and cherries. I ended up with 3 pints of blueberries (now most are frozen in the freezer) for $2.64. And I got 4.40 lbs., of red cherries for $5.50. The cherries are really sweet and will be a nice addition to our bento boxes this coming week.
I didn't take pictures of all our bento boxes, but here are some that we ate this week.
Vince ordered fish and chips from Mimi's and saved some leftovers. We swapped the leftovers so I took fish and chips to work one day. This was lunch for Monday of week 2. I added a plum and some Rainier cherries to make it a healthier lunch!
This is Vince's bento for Monday. We needed to finish the chow mein fast, so it went into his box. I added stir fried bok choy and Rainier cherries to complete the box.
The two above boxes were for us I think Tuesday? I can't remember when we had these. Vince actually didn't take his bowl of soup so we still have one in the fridge. Contents of boxes were almost identical (I have tomatoes in mine, Vince has bok choy). The brown meatballs are Indonesian fried meatballs. It's served with rice, and to add vegetables to the meal, I made beef and vegetable soup (soup has boneless beef short rib chunks, daikon radish cubes, carrots and the very last of our sugar snap peas). For dessert, I packed each of us a plum.
So... that's all I have for this week! If I have time, I'll try to add an entry on the end of week 2.
|It's 10.26 pm...|
It's now week 2 of the All You Grocery Challenge but I'm a little late on the weekend update. On Sunday, I calculated my totals to be $49.66 out of a budget of $50! Soooo close! I think it's because I'm not used to counting "eating out" as "groceries." In our household, I count eating out as a "fun" budget item because it's not a necessity, whereas groceries are limited to things we get at the grocery store, most of which must be further processed at home in order for them to be edible I'm just glad we didn't go over budget!
On Saturday, we took the morning off... I actually woke up thinking I was late for work hahaha... but so glad I didn't have to work on Saturdays. I couldn't go back to sleep after waking up though, so just spent the morning doing home "errands" like finances, laundry, spot cleaning, etc. It was quite a relaxing morning For lunch Vince had leftovers from Mimi's. We swapped the leftovers so he ate what I had for dinner, just for variety's sake. I didn't have a real lunch because I snacked on fried cassava... Cassava is a very starchy root, and is a staple in Indonesian cooking. About a month ago, I found a deal on frozen cassava (it was buy one get one free) so I made some Saturday morning and still had enough leftovers for Sunday's breakfast.
Saturday night was our dinner with the church group. I freaked out because I forgot dinner was supposed to be at 4PM and Vince had left to ride his bike at around 2PM... It takes us about 20 minutes to get to the host's house too! Ack... but no worries, it was such a hot day, Vince didn't take as long a bike ride as I thought he would and we made it just 5 minutes late. Dinner was really good, we brought homemade ice cream and homemade strawberry "Sundae" sauce. Our host made BBQ pork ribs and I have been craving some good BBQ!!! Perfect timing We also had corn, potato salad, baked beans and a variety of appetizers. It was a really good time hanging out with friends, getting to know each other better. Our host has a pool table so we got to play for a little while after dinner.
Sunday for breakfast we just had leftover cassava... Then we went to church and after church we had lunch. We brought our own lunches:
The blue box is Vince's and the yellow is mine. Contents are nearly identical. We had hot dog buns, Lloyd's BBQ, grape tomatoes, and pitted cherries. Vince had a Wee Brie wedge as well. These bento boxes don't look too inspiring because they were packed really late at night, I totally forgot I didn't pack them yet and we were about to go to sleep
Then for dinner... We had Korean BBQ spread! Pictures to show you:
I stood on a chair to take the above picture Anyway... you can see of course the burner and the pan (it uses butane). Then, on the left we have one big bowl of chopped lettuce, the bowl of meat (below the bowl of lettuce), a little dish of dressing. On the right of the burner, we have a bowl of sesame leaves and a container of tofu with red pepper sauce. On the placemats you see little dishes with brown liquid inside, that's the dipping sauce (sesame oil and fine salt). One thing missing from the picture is the rice paper, I was still steaming it when I took the picture.
Close ups of the items above. The meat (picture on the right) was still raw but we cook it on the burner and make a wrap using sesame leaves or rice paper.
This is probably one of the homemade treats we have quite regularly. I buy bulk sliced meat from the Korean market when they go on sale, and when I get home from the store, I make the marinade and divide the meat into portions. I then put the meat in a ziploc freezer bag, pour the marinade over, and freeze the bag (I usually double bag in case there's a leak). When we want to eat Korean BBQ, I take one bag out of the freezer and defrost. The sides are normally pretty cheap so the most expensive part of the meal is the meat. For this meal, I had the meat in the freezer already and only needed to buy rice paper, lettuce and sesame leaf.
That's a wrap for week 1!
|It's 8.26 PM...|
So... I didn't spend any money on food on day 2 or 3, but I did spend some on day 4 (yesterday) and today.
Yesterday I spent $0.99 on grape tomatoes for bento filler. Vince actually found a free coupon for a soft-serve ice cream at Baskin Robbins (the coupon expire July 17th and you have to be between 18-25 years old to redeem it). I went to our local BR after work, redeemed the coupon, got my free soft-serve cone and wandered around to the local Persian market, which was where I found $0.99 grape tomatoes It was really hard holding a grocery basket, a purse, and eating a fast-melting soft-serve! By the time I got done, I had to wipe my hands multiple times with a wet-wipe, so sticky!
Anyhow... then today, I shopped at the Asian markets (our local ethnic markets have sales on the weekends). First stop was Zion market (Korean). I spent $11.48 on the following things:
One bottle of milk coffee (for me, I was getting tired shopping!) - $1.04 (CRV included)
Rainier cherries (1.24 lb, $1.99/lb) - $2.47
Blueberries 3 packs ($0.79/ea.) - $2.37
6 Black plums (1.42 lb, $0.99/2 lb.) - $0.70
1 bunch Red leaf lettuce - $0.33
1 pack sesame leaf - $0.20
1 large pack Firm tofu - $0.89
1 pack rice paper - $2.59
2lb bag of carrots - $0.89
Then, I went to 99 Ranch and got even more veggies! Yummy, green veggies... I'm loving summer I spent $6.04 and got these:
Gailan/Chinese brocolli (2.01 lb, $0.79/lb) - $1.59
1/2 lb. fresh fish paste - $2.30
Baby bokchoy (1.70 lb, $0.33/lb) - $0.56
1 pack wonton skins - $1.59
Result of my shopping trip today (I'm so happy to see mostly green!):
As for our meals... Here are pictures and descriptions
I can't remember exactly what we ate and when... but I know days 1 and 2 we had homemade chow mein with bell pepper, onions and beef. I also made Indonesian spinach and corn soup, plus a side of deep-fried stuffed tofu. These dishes were quite filling and we ate them for both lunches and dinners.
I also packed bento boxes for lunches, all week. Making bento really helps me in staying on budget and having some fun with food! Here are pictures for reference:
The above three pictures were my lunches Monday - Wednesday. I don't remember which one I ate when but they were all from this week's lunch. Contents of the first box: leftover pork satay (out of the skewer), rice, watermelon and edamamde. Contents of second box: chow mein, steamed and salted edamame, melon pieces and homegrown strawberries. The homegrown strawberries were awfully small! I was expecting something quite a bit bigger, but the berries were actually about the size of my thumb... Contents of third box: rice, deep friend stuffed tofu and more edamame. As you can see, I packed edamame often because it's easy and it's from a frozen stash. Plus, it's healthy too
The above pictures are lunches from day 4 and 5, consecutively. Contents of top box: potato pattie (Japanese korokke), mini meatloaf, small container of BBQ sauce and a side of steamed edamame. Contents of bottom box: Lloyd's BBQ beef in the cup, grape tomatoes, small container of Ranch dressing, half a grilled corn, hotdog bun and a small cup of chocolate pudding and sauce.
Here are pictures of Vince's lunches:
The two boxes above had identical contents but eaten on Monday and Tuesday. Contents: pork satay meat, rice, stir-fried bok choy, and sliced watermelon.
Above box eaten on Wednesday. Contents: leftover potato and carrot curry, paratha bread, wedge of laughing cow cheese, steamed edamame and a little container filled with chocolate malt candy.
Above box eaten on Thursday. Contents: mini meatloaf, potato pattie, wedge of laughing cow cheese, celery sticks, melon pieces and two little containers filled with BBQ sauce for meatloaf and Ranch dressing for celery sticks.
The above container was today's lunch. Contents: Lloyd's beef in a small cup, hot dog bun (divided into 2 to fit the box), wedge of "Wee Brie" cheese, half a grilled corn, grape tomatoes with a side of Ranch dressing.
So... that summed up our lunches for the week. For dinner on day 3 and 4, we had grilled corn (I sprinkled Cajun seasoning and a little salt on them before grilling), and homemade BBQ chicken. Vince said the chicken were really juicy so we had them for two days. Today we went out to Mimi's because I've had a really long week and I got a birthday coupon from Mimi's Cafe ($10 of $20). I looove Mimi's corn chowder! Yummmmmy... I actually ordered a Beef dip sandwich with a side of corn chowder, and Vince got fish and chips. There's enough leftovers for tomorrow's lunch too
So all in all, I've spent $45.86. I don't need anything else this week and I probably won't shop much next week either because I have enough produce to last until the end of next week. And since my birthday is next Tuesday, I'm intentionally cutting back on shopping next week because I know Vince wants to take me out to a nice seafood restaurant and I don't have a coupon for it I hope spending so close to the maximum limit for our household ($50 per week) won't disqualify me to be a finalist!
Sorry for the long post, but I'd like to be able to keep track and also share on the All You blog without taking up their space (I'll link to this post on their blog ). Have a wonderful weekend everyone!