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Dine-At-Home One Month Challenge

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(no subject) [Oct. 16th, 2005|11:31 am]
Dine-At-Home One Month Challenge

We know going into our month that our anniversary, the 14th (albeit, not "the" anniversary, but we acknowledge the passing of the date) would be a day where we would celebrate of some sort, with drinks or food. We chose a food we could not easily or cheaply prepare ourselves (chinese, mainly because I want it so infrequently there is no point in buying the materials only to waste them) and from a place with no MSG in usage. Let me tell you about the chinese.

It was, first off, one of the BEST orange chicken dishes I've had. R. got moo goo gai pan and it too, was yummy.

I ate less than a 1/4 of mine and was STUFFED, uncomfortably. R. ate about the same. We both slept like the dead, and woke up groggy.

I lived on the toilet the next morning, and not to waste money or consumables, I brought just the orange chicken and rice to R. to share with her on her lunch hour.

I lived on the toilet in Target for almost 30 minutes.

We still have 3/4 of her moo goo gai pan left. I cannot resign myself to eating it.

Last night, we made grilled-stuffed burritos, my favorite Taco Bell food. Using flour tortillas, we stuffed them with:

- vegetarian refried beans, seasoned with sauteed diced yellow and green onions and this mix of taco seasonings I have concocted
- saffron rice
- a cheese sauce like TB's, with light sour cream, light cream cheese, and mozzarella, whirlled in the food processor, then mixed with salsa and dices tomatoes
- shredded cheddar

Roll 'em, toss them on the Foreman grill until the tortilla gets brown and crunchy, and enjoy.

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End of Week One [Oct. 9th, 2005|10:52 pm]
Dine-At-Home One Month Challenge

Lots of temptations, no cheating.

Last night I baked bourbon salmon (purchased from Fresh Market) and harvest dressing (my own recipe) with corn and tea. And this self-saucing mocha bread pudding and raspberries that would have been wonderful if I'd have used self-rising flour.

Today it was chai pancakes and cream cheese frosting and oj.

At some point, I will start cooking healthier options. Right now, it's all about good.

By this time last month, I'd already spend $40 in fast food in addition to $200 in my monthly groceries. This week's incidentals? A whopping $19.

Harvest Dressing

Herbed stuffing (or homemade stuffing... I bought cheap Pepperidge Farms in the blue-marked bag)
Vegetable broth (1/5 times the directions on the stuffing, you can use chicken if you like it)
celery (2 stalks, run through a food processor)
carrots (6-8 babies, whriled in the food processor with the celery)
fresh garlic (two toes, chopped, you can process these, to)
1/2 an organic mid-harvest red apple, as local as you can get it (yes, it does make a difference - put it through the processor, too)
dried apricots (about 8 sakajaweia dollar sized ones... guess where these go! PROCESSOR!)
golden raisins (like 2-3 tablespoons, you don't have to process these)
course ground black or white pepper
onion salt (or yellow onion, chopped and sea salt)

Boil the broth, add the apple first to soften, then the garlic, celery, carrots, pepper and onion salt, then the breadcrumbs. Toss with fork, add raisins and and apricots but don't stir in. Cover, let it hang out for like 10 minutes, then fluff it all up. I like my dressing a bit dry, so I put it in a shallow pan and in the 350 deg oven for the last 10-15 minutes the salmon was cooking.
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(no subject) [Oct. 9th, 2005|08:06 pm]
Dine-At-Home One Month Challenge

Here's some good old fashion southern comfort food:

Scalloped Sweet potatoes

Peel and thinly slice 2 large sweet potatoes
Cover small casserole dish with one layer of sweet potatoes
spread layer of cheddar cheese on top
second layer of sweet potatoes
final layer of cheese
pour about 3/4 of a pint of room temperature half and half over the whole thing

bake at 350 until potatoes are tender
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Chicken Parmigian [Oct. 5th, 2005|05:44 pm]
Dine-At-Home One Month Challenge


1/2 or 1 lb of chicken (tenders work especially well to save cutting time)
1 jar of favorite sauce (or make your own if you like :)
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/4 of small onion
italian bread crumbs
2-3 eggs (or 3-4 egg whites)
Olive oil
Favorite pasta (If desired)
1 bag of grated parmigian cheese (or parmigian mozarella blend)

rough chop garlic and onion
add to olive oil
add a palmfull of dry oregano and heat

dip chicken in egg and dredge through bread crumbs. Brown quickly in olive oil
1/4 of sauce into small foil lined baking pan, place browned chicken on top
cover chicken with 1/2 of sauce, and spread cheese on top
bake at 350 until chicken is cooked through, and serve over al dente pasta with remaining sauce.

Great with a nice salad and some toasty frozen breadsticks or quick garlic bread
(1 loaf of french bread,split in half, white sides up, butter, sprinkle with garlic powder and bake until toasty)
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Day Two [Oct. 4th, 2005|09:09 pm]
Dine-At-Home One Month Challenge

Yesterday was nice - I took R. a "quicky" dinner of risoto, alfredo sauce, fresh garlic, mushrooms, spices and mini crossants. It wasn't healthy, but it was quick. And good.

I've got breakfasts down (even though I hate eating breakfast) but lunch kills me. Sandwhiches aren't what I ever want... I need to dedicate time to that.

Dinner tonight was spaghetti, courtesy of R. I fear we will eat too much pasta, but she makes good spaghetti. And garlic bread. And tea.

Tomorrow, I will be making an Indian red lentil soup. The recipe says 15 minutes. We'll see.

I am glad to see a few other people trying this. I officially have more sympathizers here than I have in my real life. Thanks, guys!
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(no subject) [Oct. 4th, 2005|09:01 pm]
Dine-At-Home One Month Challenge

Like livinganthology posted the other day, we went out to our last dinner and started getting some good recipes from Barnes and Noble. Indian food was definately the way to say good bye to eating out!

Work has been tricky. I am used to taking my break every day around 10 and heading to Starbucks to get some sort of drink. Usually just regular coffee, but still. Now I've started to bring a tea bag in my lunch. I got an assortment of green teas and that seems to be getting me by. Still some degree of caffiene, which is fabulous!

The other aspect of work that hasn't been tricky is the fact that I no longer have to eat crap food on a whim when I'm hungry. I look back at my bank records and see my work show up atleast three times a day. Adding it all up, it's more than $20 a week. Good Lord. I'm glad to be not eating out. Hopefully we can extend this challenge past October.
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(no subject) [Oct. 4th, 2005|05:00 pm]
Dine-At-Home One Month Challenge

Ok... so my friends know that I'm an italian and chinese food person. So I'm always looking for ways to make these at home, and I've come up with a few recipes that seem to work. (Also a big kitchen experimenter)

Sweet and Sour Chicken:

1/2 - 1 bell pepper (any color will do)
1/4 c brown sugar
1 Can of pineapple rings
1 pound chicken tenders or breasts
2 splashes of rice wine vinegar
3-4 splashes of soy sauce

Slice pepper into strips, place in large bowl, cut chicken into medium size chunks, cut pineapple rings in half. Mix into bowl with half can of pineapple juice, vinegar, and soy sauce. Marinate in fridge for about an hour to two hours then put in a pan over medium heat, cover, and leave until chicken is done all the way through. The chicken pretty much steams itself, and it tastes DELICIOUS! :)

"Fried" Rice

Really more of sauteed rice, I put just enough "I can't believe it's not butter" in for flavor, mixed in with just enough oil to moisten the bottom of the pan add a couple shakes of sesame seeds, some splashes of soy sauce, some onion powder and fresh or powedered garlic and heat up. Throw in some cold white or brown rice, and sautee it super quick. You can add more butter or butter substitute to taste, egg, frozen carrots and peas, beef, chicken, turkey... pretty much anything you want :)

Tommorrow... chicken parmegian... :)
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My Day 1 [Oct. 2nd, 2005|09:51 am]
Dine-At-Home One Month Challenge

To prepare for our 30-day challenge, I went to B&N (best library ever) and collected a few cookbooks, made a list of grocery items and menu ideas, and went to Indian food for dinner, to create left overs to help curb "I-wannas" during the month (freeze the naan, thaw to fight cravings), as well as refresh favors in my mind so when I recreate this month, I have a recent memory.

This morning, I didn't have a potential hazard, but R. did - she had to go to work early, and being she works at a place with a Starbucks location...

I made just-add-water pancakes, she had chopped some mango, I added cultured-in-the-cup yogurt to it and viola, breakfast. I packed up some indian for her, and luch is done. Now, I must plan dinner...

Day 1 is always easy. Day 6 blows.

To help keep shit exciting, I bought some kitchen wares and I'm going to really clean the kitchen, prep what I have, and head to the grocery store.

I'll be posting recipies periodically, but if you need ideas, just ask or share!
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(no subject) [Sep. 27th, 2005|10:45 pm]
Dine-At-Home One Month Challenge

Considering the average person spent $2,276 a year on eating out in 2002 (and with no reduction in grocery expenditures), it is no wonder why Americans find themselves with more debt and larger pants!

Diet gimmicks and get-rich-quick advice aside, both campuses agree that dining out without moderation thins the wallet and thickens the middle. Blah blah blah.

I love food, work more than 40 hours per week, and enjoy every waking moment I can spend with my partner and soulmate - which means the idea of ordering good food and conversing while it arrives with no effort on my part is awfully appealing. Add 3 or 4 of our dear friends, and who wants to be left out cooking in the tiny galley kitchen while they are enjoying eachothers company?

After realizing that a majority of both of our disposable incomes went to food-related social situations (and independantly feeling less and less positive about my body image after each effortless purchase), we both decided to see what would happen if we avoided dining out for one month.

Though our month was really only 28 days, we explored new foods (we're both ethnic food FREAKS) and surprisingly grew closer in conversation than we did having to worry which of my students may be around. Total expenditures of eating 3 meals per day at home for two adults? Less than $200. And there were no worries about the purity or quality of the foods we consumed, since we selected and prepared each meal together or for each other.

The greatest challenge we had was finidng friends who respected our decision to avoid capitalistic fare. Even harder was finding people who were willing to support us without judgement or seeing our decision as an opportunity to practice their persuasion.

If you like the idea and want to try, please join!
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