Friday, January 29, 2010

One Small Change - January recap

Two days left for the month, but I'll post my results now since the weekend is looking busy...

The surprisingly pleasant benefit of Hip Mountain Mama's One Small Change challenge is the extra coin in my pocket. I thought my grocery bills would increase by buying more fresh fruit and vegetables, but that has been offset by the reduction in beef purchases along with the fact that I've only had ONE fast food meal out this month (it was mystery meat that they claimed was beef). I stopped for a quick meal in between leaving the doctor and picking up a prescription to knock out some chest congestion. A burger and fries just seemed like a good idea at the time, but was disappointing, as I should have guessed.

I'm still eating mostly grains and legumes as my main sources of protein, but also eat fish, and had chicken twice in January. Fresh steamed or stir-fried veggies fill most of my plate, although a few meals during that cold were bowls of soup. Interestingly, I only had three pasta meals this month. One with a homemade sauce using what was on hand. The others were cold tuna and pasta salads which I prefer to tuna fish sandwiches packed in my lunchbag.

Speaking of lunch, I keep thinking of this post to make my own sandwich wraps and snack bags. Last week Rob posted a similar idea, using the inner bag from a box of cereal. Well, lo and behold! The inner bag from Whole Foods wheat crackers (kinda like Triscuits) is extremely strong, so I cut the edges off and it makes a terrific sandwich wrap. For now I slap a rubber band around it and it holds everything together nicely. Nothing has spilled inside my lunch bag. (I'll try to make this more presentable by using some stretch elastic from my sewing stash and wrapping it in the cloth napkin I take to work.) If I can turn another one of these into a liner for a snack pouch, I may have eliminated a large part of my plastic usage. Rob has also used liners to cover a dish in the microwave, so I've got to try that.

Getting back to the Challenge; what I learned during the first month was that grains and legumes are very satisfying and keep my appetite down. By adding things like winter squash, I've even passed on desserts 90 percent of the month. Now that's sweet.

My goal for February is to try cold-brewed coffee as a way to eliminate brewing a carafe each morning, thus saving electric usage. I'll start over the weekend so I can play with the amounts.

Another update is from my "Better List". I signed up for guitar lessons through continuing ed in the town next to me.

January was a pretty good month.....(Insert sigh and smile.)


Maria said...

Good for you - you had a successful month.

What exactly is cold-brewed coffee??

MyStory of HiStory said...

Good idea...the liner thing! :) & Hoooray for guitar lessons. When Words Fail, Music I presume when you are not blogging, you will be playing the guitar instead! :)

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Love the guitar lessons....after seeing michael pollan on oprah the other day i went out and got his new book 'food rules'....haven't
had meat in beans are simmeriing on the stovetop for tostados tonight.....

gotta keep it going..

have a great weekend, my friend


The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi Maria,
Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I was off-line while at my mother's house.

Cold-brewed coffee is just ground coffee beans and water that is allowed to sit and steep, then poured into a cup and microwaved, or enjoyed as iced coffee. There are expensive cold-brewing systems, or it can be done in a glass jar on the counter. I'll bet it would be really good in the summer over ice....

My reason for wanting to try it is that I habitually leave the coffee maker on for an hour or more each morning while I get ready for work. (mea culpa! I waste electricity!)

Here's one link to cold-brewed coffee, but there are many more:

Hi MyStory,
Yes, it was a very good month!

Hi Kary,
Congrats on the meat-free, but remember moderation. For me, an occassional splurge is better that falling "off the wagon" entirely :)

Tostados sounds really good for an end of the work week supper! Yum!

Hip Mountain Mama said...

Thanks for the recap! It is great to know you are enjoying your fruits and veggies and saving some money while doing it! I love that you are packing your lunch using the cracker bag...brilliant!!
Thanks for explaining the cold brew coffee in your comment as I had not heard of this either. Sounds like a great way to make a change!

Robj98168 said...

Well you learn something new every day! I never thought of using the liners from cereal boxes to wrap a sandwich. Genious!

Wendy said...

Loved hearing about your food experiences--inspiring. Love the idea for the sandwich wrap too!

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi Rob,
That plastic was just too good to waste! And it works in the microwave, too.

Hi Wendy,
Thanks for stopping by. It was a great month!