Posts filed under In My Kitchen

January Food Budget

I do not want to write this post. It’s embarrassing. I did not even come close to meeting January's food budget goal. It’s like I didn’t even try (spoiler alert: I did not). Added to the stinging pain of failure - or rather admitting failure - is the fact that money is a deeply personal subject. 

I could, technically, not write this post and ignore that I ever mentioned having a food budget. The internet does it all time, no? Many bloggers, perhaps all, have at some point or another conveniently forgotten to post updates on a new project, goal, what have you. I’d be lucky if two people even read this post. 

Then again, the internet never forgets. 

 

I’m stalling here. Can you tell?

So for January we spent $949 in groceries and $427 in restaurants/eating out (no graph because it would make this all too real).

 

What went wrong? 

1) Not paying attention. While I spent a lot of time meal planning, I didn’t plan with prices in mind. I also never tracked any of the spending during the month. Out of sight, out of mind. Until you have to blog. 

2) Whole Foods. We bought the vast majority of our groceries at WF. Trader Joe’s is always cheaper, but it’s also 20 minutes away. Stop n Shop isn’t too far and offers organic produce, but I would still have to buy meat elsewhere. Ideally I would buy meat at the Farmers Market, but last time I did I spent $30 on bacon. Good bacon, but com’on. Needless to say, I let convenience drive all the decisions. 

The good - and there was some!

1) A lot less eating out. We actually spent $246 on meals out together (across five occasions). I used to eat out at least three times a week. The discrepancy is J spending here and there on little things.  Clearly we’re in this debauchery together, though struggling with different things.  

2) Continued commitment to do better. That’s gotta worth something … 

 

Posted on February 2, 2015 and filed under In My Kitchen, Living.

Family Traditions

Some of the best family holiday traditions undoubtedly revolve around food. I would say that that's somewhat true in my family. 

Unfortunately I'm not a huge fan of our typical holiday fare. Since I can remember my mom would always make two dishes:

- Bacalao, a cod fish tomato stew that never fails to make the house reek of dead fish while it cooks. How that doesn't turn everyone off it, I do not know.  

- Ensalada de manzana, an apple salad made with Mexican crema which I am not a fan of. 

Full disclosure: I have never actually tried any of these dishes. But the five-year old picky eater in me resists. It's so engrained, it's Pavlovian. 

Every year, twice a year for Christmas and New Year's my mom will make those two dishes and every year, twice a year everyone loves it but me. Then a few years ago my mom came up with her "espaguetti blanco," and a new tradition was born. It's nothing fancy by any stretch. But I love it. And because my mom makes it, it's always extra delicious. 

Because I didn't spend the holidays with my family this year, I decided to recreate a little part of home. The cheesiest part. Smart, I know.  So I asked my mom for the recipe and like anything worthy of being passed down from mother to daughter, it is devoid of any actual measurements. 

The recipe's essentials include lots of cheese, ham, spaghetti, some butter, a little milk, salt and pepper to taste. Assemble, bake, and enjoy. 

It came out great. As great as mom? Almost. But that's always the case. I have time to practice still, zero in on ratios and measurements. Maybe that will be my legacy to pass down. Cups and tablespoons. I kinda like it. 

Happy New Year! 

"white spaghetti"
INGREDIENTES
Un paquete de espaguetti chico para 4 personas.
jamon ya sea de pavo o de puerco
quesos:
Amarillo en rebanadas, blanco en rebanadas, mozarella como lo encuentres y parmesano rayado
mantequilla
leche
sal y pimienta al gusto
“Espaguetti Blanco”

Paquete chico de Espaguetti al dente. En un reflactario de vidrio o de aluminio, se unta mantequilla en todo el recipiente, se pone una capa de spaguetti, una capa de jamon ya sea de pavo o de puerco eso es al gusto, una capa de queso amarillo, queso blanco, mozarella, parmesano, pimienta y sal al gusto, otra capa de mantequilla, otra capa de quesos ya mencionados, y jamon nuevamente, un poco de leche para que se cueza todo, se tapa con aluminio y Se mete al horno a 350 grados, una media hora, hasta que el queso este derretido. Se sirve y se adorna con perejil si quieres, yo nunca lo adorne porque era para nosotros, eso es al gusto y a COMER SE HA DICHO YUMI, YUMI MMMMMMMM!!!!!!

Si tienes alguna duda me llamas.

Saludos a todos, besos y apapachos. TQM

tu mama

Posted on December 31, 2014 and filed under In My Kitchen.

December Food Budget

After the obscenity that was October food spending, J and I decided that we had to rein it in before things got really out of control. We decided this sometime in mid-November, admittedly a little late on reviewing our budgets, hence the December focus. 

We set a goal to spend a total of $700 on all food, which isn't at all unreasonable for two people. Unfortunately, we didn't quite make it. 

We were over by about 50%, so it's probably more accurate to say we didn't make it at all. Though it was a vast improvement from past months (including October 2014), we can definitely do better. Side note, I'm starting to see a pattern here with my last few posts and not meeting the goals I set.  I don't like it. 

Our Achilles' heel is eating out. We definitely use it as a crutch. Don't know what to eat? Let's Foodler! Feeling lazy? Ramen! Scratch that. I hate to suggest that ramen isn't always a good option, so let's go with Italian! 

The lack of planning did us in. The first few weeks were packed with meal planning, home cooked meals, and batch cooking. It was glorious. Then we got back from a week of travel and reverted back to our old ways. 

So now that I've identified the somewhat obvious problem, January will be glorious(ly within budget). January budget is increased slightly to $850 to account for a birthday meal. Is that cheating? Or is it just being realistic? 

Posted on December 30, 2014 and filed under In My Kitchen, Living.