Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Dinner Menu

Tomorrow is the beginning of a new month so today I wanted to share something I like to do for each new month.....The Dinner Menu.

The dinner menu was something my mom did when I was growing up.  Each month she would create a menu for dinner for every night of the week.  Instead of having to listen to six kids ask "What's for dinner?" every night, we could just look at the posted menu and know, well beforehand. 

I started to consistently do my own dinner menu back in January of this year.  I love reading through cookbooks and magazines, and browsing the internet, looking for new recipes to try.  And creating a menu seemed like a good way to organize a tiny part of my life.  My ex never really understood the reasons behind the menu, and would often complain about some of the new dishes I wanted to try.   It has been much nicer in the last three months creating menus full of food I enjoy or would like to try and not having to listen to anyone else's opinion. 

Not only does creating a menu take all the guesswork out of what I will make, it saves me a ton of money on groceries each month.   I usually take an inventory of what I have on hand in the freezer and pantry and will plan meals around those items.  Then when it is time to grocery shop, I only need to buy a minimum amount of items.  Unless it is a stock-up month, of course, like October was.   Most times, my grocery list will consist mainly of fresh produce, bread, eggs, milk, cheese, ect.   And if there is ever a night when I don't feel like making what is scheduled, I am free to move meals around, since I usually have the ingredients on hand.  I also schedule a few nights where nothing is planned that I call "Make Whatever I Feel Like Night".  On these nights, I can cook whatever I want or order pizza, chinese, whatever I have a taste for.  I can also use these nights to make a meal I have previously planned to make that I skipped in favor of something else.

Here is November's menu.  I am always willing to share recipes if anyone is interested in any of the planned meals.

Dinner Menu November 2012
Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Soup
Rolls with Garlic Butter
Strawberry French Toast
Sausage Links
Orange Slices
Bacon Cheeseburgers
Beer Battered Fried Pickles
Truly Texan Chili
Chicken Piccata w/ Angel Hair Pasta
Garlic Breadsticks
Bowling Night
Crispy Parmesan Pork Chops
Scalloped Potatoes
Mexican Pizza
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Grilled Cheese
Make Whatever I Feel Like Night
Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
Spanish Rice
Hamburger Steaks w/ Brown Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Bowling Night
Italian Style Soup w/ Turkey Sausage
Bread and Butter
Lemon Walnut Chicken
Basmati Rice
Make Whatever I Feel Like Night
Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops
Oven Roasted Potatoes
Columbus for the Day
Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Bowling Night
Chips with Guacamole & Salsa
Happy Thanksgiving!
Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
Fried Rice
Egg Rolls
Make Whatever I Feel Like Night
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic Bread
Cheesy Potato Soup with Broccoli
Crescent Rolls
Bowling Night
Sausage Gravy & Biscuits
Scrambled Eggs
Fruit Salad
Lemon Thyme Chicken
Basmati Rice
Make Whatever I Feel Like Night

On to some other things.   I am really looking forward to this weekend.   Not only do I have some really good meals planned, I have the whole weekend free.   Friday night is bowling, and Saturday I have to clean the house and a therapy appointment, but the rest of the weekend is completely unscheduled.  I would really like to get my closet and dresser drawers cleaned out.  I also found some knitting videos on Youtube I plan on checking out, and am going to spend some time watching my shows, reading, and drawing with my new pencils and sketchpad.   I hope it stops raining so Hugo and I can go for a couple of walks.   I think I am also going to make myself a fancy Sunday morning breakfast of waffles and eggs and sausage.  It is little things like these that I am beginning to find true happiness in.  They are small gestures, but they make me feel like I am really taking care of myself, and really trying to make a happy life for myself.  It has definitely not been an easy road for me, but by starting to do these little things, I am building a life I can enjoy. 

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Searching for Happiness

I feel like a complete failure this week.   I didn't work out at all and I didn't abstain from drinking.   What a bust.

I saw a quote recently that said "If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up".   I am making this my new motto.   I'm really tired of telling myself every week, this week will be different.  I'll go to the gym every morning and I won't drink at all.   These words have been on repeat in my head for months.   And frankly, I'm getting sick of hearing the same old thing.   And I'm tired of making the same old excuses.   I keep thinking that things are magically going to change.  That one day I will wake up and won't be so damn depressed with my life.   Obviously, there is no magic and if I am so unhappy and want things to change, I have to do it myself!  I mean, I know this.  

So.  Here it is.  My declaration.  I am DONE making excuses.  I am DONE with starting over.  Tomorrow morning, I am going to get up, clean my house, go to the gym and workout and go to my therapy appointment.  I am going to clean my car out.  I am going to give myself a manicure, a pedicure, and a facial.  Maybe pampering myself a bit will help me feel a little better about myself.  I am going to take Hugo for a nice long walk at the Metroparks.  And I am going to watch a movie I checked out from the library.   I am going to go to Mass at 4 PM.  And I am going to work on my vision board.

Sunday I am going to workout in the morning and take Hugo to the dog park so he can run around for a few hours.   I am going to catch up on my shows and work on my fitness notebook.  Sunday afternoon,  I have a raffle to go to, and I will not, WILL NOT, drink while I am there.  I will use every single ounce of willpower I have in order to stay away from alcohol, but I will do it.   Right now, I feel like my whole life depends on staying away from drinking. 

Come Monday morning, I will be in the gym at 5:30 AM.  And I will be there every single weekday morning at the time.  NO MORE EXCUSES. 

Now that that is off my chest and out in the open, I feel somewhat better.    The best thing I think I can do is to put these declarations on the fridge where I can see them every day.   I am just so tired of feeling bad about myself and my life, and I need to make these changes.   Going to church will hopefully help, because I definitely need God's help to succeed.

I think that's enough of the heavy stuff for today.  =)

Now, on to the exciting news.  I got a new piercing Wednesday night!   I have been wanting my industrial pierced for so long, and I finally got it done!!

I was really surprised that it didn't hurt like I thought it was going to.  In fact, it didn't really hurt at all.  I liked the place I had it done, and plan on going back there for my skull and crossbones tattoos that I am planning on getting done.  Hopefully that will happen soon!

Time for some work now!  Happy Friday!



Monday, October 15, 2012

Stocking Up

Saturday was quite the busy day this past weekend.   Despite not getting home from bowling until 12:30 am and going to sleep around 1 am, I forced myself to get out of bed at 8:15 Saturday morning and get my day going.  I did laundry and cleaned the house all before 10 am.   I went to therapy, and then spent a good three hours or so grocery shopping.   After I finished shopping, I had to rush home, unload and put away the groceries, make my taco dip, and then it was off to Mom's boyfriend's house for Lib's 18th birthday party.   After the party, I met up with Bri at the Eagles for some drinks.   It was a fun, productive day, and I am very glad I decided to skip Cedar Point on Sunday so I could lounge around the house and relax.

Grocery shopping took so long Saturday because I was doing my big stock up.

My freezer is now completely full.   I went to BJ's and bought a big pork tenderloin, a beef eye of round, and a 6 lbs package of ground beef.  When I got home, I cut the meat up and put individual portions into freezer bags.  I got about 10 freezer bags worth of each type of meat.  I also bought a 5 lbs bag of frozen chicken breasts and a bag of frozen chicken leg quarters.  I already had a bag of salmon fillets and a bag of large shrimp in the freezer.   Plus, I have several containers of vegetable and lentil soup, potato broccoli soup, lasagna, and pot roast with veggies frozen.   All homemade, of course.  =)  I am completely set for the next 4-5 months, and won't have to buy meat for quite awhile.

I also stocked up on canned goods, frozen veggies, snack foods, and cleaning and bathroom supplies.   All in all, I don't see having to buy anything besides milk, bread, and fresh produce for the next, hopefully, 5 months.  Like I said in my last entry, my goal is to only spend $100 a month on groceries throughout the winter.   The challenge begins now.

Sunday was spent mostly on the couch, lounging around and catching up on some of my shows.    I also had a nice afternoon nap, snuggled up to Mr. Hugo. 

Today it is back to work.   I woke up this morning feeling kind of icky.  I have a sore throat, a headache, I am congested, and feel just plain old tired.   I have been drinking tea and water, and plan on going to bed early tonight to hopefully fight off whatever seems to be taking over my body.

Now it is on to a few more goals.   My goal for this week is to work out at least four days.  I didn't make it to the gym this morning, but I plan on getting up tomorrow morning for a workout.  My alarm is already set up 5am. 

I also am abstaining from drinking this week, although I may make an exception Friday night.  I bought a ticket to a ladies reverse raffle and it is open bar.  As long as I drink in moderation, I will be ok.  I have an appointment at the gym with my trainer Saturday morning so I can't get too out of control.

A new goal I am going to focus on is teaching myself how to knit.  I have yarn and needles at home, and I plan on getting some books out of the library and checking out youtube for some how-to videos.  I think this would be a great hobby because it is time consuming and something I can concentrate on when I am feeling down.   For the same reason, I plan on getting back into writing poetry and drawing.  Both of these are things I used to do all the time, before Nick and I started dating.  They both have fallen to the wayside in the past several years, but it time to tap back into that creative side of myself.

That's all for today.  I hope you enjoyed reading!  <3


Friday, October 12, 2012

New Beginnings

There have been some significant changes in my life in the past three months, and I am starting this blog as a part of those changes.   Three months ago, my fiance, whom I had been with for six years, left me.   Talk about devastating.   Thankfully, I had started seeing a wonderful therapist about a month beforehand, and she has really helped me work through the worst of the pain and grief.   Of course, I still find myself randomly missing him and bursting into tears at probably the most inopportune times, but I am working through it. 

I wanted to start this blog as a way to share my new life.  I am now solely focusing on myself, and reconnecting with the person that I am.  I kind of lost myself in the past several years.  This, unfortunately, has caused me to fall into a depression, and was one of the reasons I began therapy again when I did.  Now that I am beginning to work through some things, and beginning to really understand who I am, I need to do something to keep things in focus.  Hence, this blog.   There are several aspects of my life that I really want to focus on.  Those are my new found love of cooking, getting back into a work out routine and losing the 70 lbs I put on in the past several years, rediscoving my faith, and creating a future for myself that truely makes me happy.  So, Eat, Pray, Run, Dream.  

I have a few goals I would like to accomplish by the end of October.  My first goal is to abstain from drinking for the rest of the month.  I have been doing quite a bit of drinking in the last few months, and seeing as how alcoholism runs in my family, I don't want my drinking to develop into a significant problem.  I know this will be a challenge for me, but I am hoping by using this blog, my therapy sessions, working out, and leaning on my faith, I can stay away from alcohol.  By taking things one day at a time I think I will be strong enough to complete this goal. 

My second goal is to get back into the gym at least four days a week.  It is so much easier for me to workout in the morning before work than to go afterwards, so my biggest challenge with this is getting out of bed at 5AM.  I know I can do it though, since I have done it in the past.  I have also signed up to run a half marathon a little less than a year from now, and since I have commited financially, I am motivated to train and be able to run that type of distance.  I know once I start working out on a regular basis, the weight I want to lose will start falling off.  I have a pretty good handle on my nutrition, and have been making an effort to incorporate fruits and/or vegetables into every meal and snack, and to eat whole grains and lean proteins.  I do still have my cheats though, and it really is all about moderation.  =)

The last goal I am going to write about today is one that has to do with my financial health.  Luckily, I was able to recently make a decision that will help me get my bills caught up, get new tires for my car, buy my plane ticket to Kansas for Thanksgiving, and set some money aside into savings for any emergencies.  I also am planning on doing what I call a stock up.  I am going to be stocking my freezer and pantry with anything I may need in the next several months, as well as cooking and freezing individual size portions of meals.   I am hoping by doing this I can keep my grocery bill around $100 for the next four months or so, giving me the opportunity to save even more money.   Being on my own for the first time in six years has proved to be a struggle financially, but I know if I am smart and frugal, I can live comfortably.    Fortunately, my mom is a great role model for living on a budget, and should I need advice, I know I can always turn to her.

That's it for now.  I will be adding some more goals soon enough, and I hope you enough reading about my journey!