Tag Archives: New Beginnings

Project Food Budget: Week 6

So this week was a whirlwind week of emotional transition and lots of positive surprises.  And coupled with poor planning and the need for expensive items,  I was way over budget this week.  Whoa.

Budget Goal: $40
Budget Actual: $125.06

Trader Joe’s: $26.40
Market District: $48.90
Wine & Spirits: $13.00?  Lost the receipt
Pizza: $28.00
Lunch out: $8.76

I learned that these items are expensive:  Coffee ($13.99 – I’m tracking how long it lasts me.  My guess is three weeks), Dish Soap & Dishwasher Detergent ($9.99 – Knew these were expensive, but forgot that I’d have to buy them again someday), and take out pizza ($28.00 – Granted I bought 2 over the course of the week and there was much leftover which was nice), but yeah.  Wow, that was a bad week.

I also bought a lot of berries this week to entertain some girlfriends.  I’m not complaining about this one bit, because it was so wonderful to entertain!  I wish I’d have been a bit more selective about the amount of berries I purchased because I’m still swimming in berries, but oh well!  They are tasty and I had fun!

Week 7 Budget: $40

I learned a couple lessons as after living through this week.
One, I’ve got to make sure the things on my menu for the week actually sound interesting to me.  If they don’t, I won’t want to eat them/make them.
Two, life happens.  Some weeks you’ve got to punt and get through it, knowing that the awesome weeks in the past and the awesome ones to come will even out the extra costs from a bad week.  I’m also reminded that this used to be nearly every week’s expenditure — oh how far I’ve come.
Three, the freezer is my friend.  Having a few healthy meal options (not frozen jalapeno popper pretzel bites, Eryn) would have been a godsend this week.  I’m going to keep that in mind over the weekends when I’d have the option to make and freeze a few things.

This week will be great and I’m excited to jump back into a low budget, better planned week.

Want to jump in where you are and get started with Project Food Budget?  Check out this link for all the details: http://emilylevenson.com/blog/project-food-budget/details.  There are some really great people participating in the challenge, so to learn more about the project, check out their efforts:

Week 37 Participating blogs: 


Project: Food Budget Week 3

This was a great week!  I used a lot of the things I had on hand and started to develop my essential pantry list.  I’ve used one in the past, but have found that I purchased things I never used, even though they were “essential.”  So I’ve realized that I can create my own and that it can be exactly what works for me.

I shopped at Target and Trader Joe’s this week.  At Target, I bought toothpaste and sponges (which are expensive!).  At Trader Joe’s, I bought ingredients for a pizza and also some really great eggs, organic and cage free, which made me feel good.  I also bought myself flowers; they make me happy every time I see them and are totally worth the money!

Week 2 Budget: $30
Week 2 Actual: $31.17

Week 3 Budget: $30

I made a Thai Chicken Pizza last night and its was really very good.  It was my first time making homemade pizza from start to finish, though it was something we did often.  I went a little crazy with the flour and forgot to add the water to the peanut sauce, so it didn’t spread especially well, but it was delicious anyway!  So here’s my result:

My first attempt at Make at Home Pizza

And here is my recipe for the Peanut Sauce.  It’s so amazing, you could eat it on ice cream (just remember to add the water)!

There are some really great foodies participating in the challenge, so for more budget-friendly tips, check out their efforts:
Week 35 Participating blogs: 

Project: Food Budget Week 2

Sometimes life gives you lemons and that certainly happened to me this week.  Upon returning home from my trip I found that my boyfriend had moved out.  Wow, that was unexpected.  So now I’m cooking for one person, which is something I really struggle to do.

In the past, I haven’t wanted to spend the time to cook anything fancy because I’m the only person here to eat it.  Plus, I don’t really know what to freeze and I’m not always crazy about leftovers.  So typically I just made simple things and oftentimes, I ate the same 4 things over and over.  And when I got tired of those 4 things, I’d order a pizza.

So this week, I’m going to concentrate on clearing out.  There’s a ton of food in my fridge, freezer, and pantry and its time to use it.  I’m going to set a budget of $30, with the intention of using up as much as I can.  I’ll cook, freeze, and eat leftovers.  And then I’ll refresh my kitchen with summer ingredients and get a little more creative in the kitchen.  I’ll also focus on building an essential pantry that’s more in line with my tastes, which have changed quite a bit from when I first starting cooking.  I’m looking forward to this.

Week 1 Budget: $100
Week 1 Actual: $80.55

Week 2 Budget: $30

I’ve created a listing of everything in my freezer right now, so I can start planning some meals to use up things that have been around for awhile (and have room for freezing summer berries for winter smoothies!).

Shrimp, Chicken, Pork, Sausage, Peas, 3 Steamfresh Veggies, Marinara Sauce, Leftover Soup from Week 1 (2 portions), Ravioli, 1 Burrito, Bananas and Assorted Berries, Cool Whip, Bread Crumbs, Texas Toast and Alcohol.

There are some really great foodies participating in the challenge, so for more budget-friendly tips, check out their efforts:

Week 34 Participating blogs: 

To learn more about this project, I’d encourage you to check out the Details on Project: Food Budget here: http://emilylevenson.com/blog/project-food-budget/details

Something Old. . . Freshly Squeezed

I’m not going to pretend that the last month hasn’t been painful; it was filled with moments of great optimism contrasted with heart-wrenching disappointment.  Not getting the graduate job was frustrating, but more than anything, it disrupted the predetermined path I had drawn up for my life.  It was this revelation that was the most difficult to swallow – my “life plan” had fallen to pieces on the graduate office floor.

For a number of months I’ve been a work-a-holic.  I had a lot I wanted to prove when I first returned to Pitt in August of 2009, including that I was talented, capable, and worthy of responsibility and trust.  I proved that.  In the process I sacrificed balance.  I wrapped my self worth up in my work.  And while work opened doors, fostered friendships, and created an atmosphere for me to rebuild my self esteem in the first place, it left me closed off to healthy relationships, happiness, fun and myself.

In this post I asked February for a new job, and well, Cupid must have skipped that post.  Because a new job I do not have.  But I got something better ~ fresh perspective on everything “old.”

By admitting how much not getting the job really hurt this past Wednesday, I’ve been able to come out on the other side with a fresh perspective on something old ~ my completely true self.  I’ve already started to move in a positive direction with interpersonal relationships, a direction characterized by fun, honesty and spontaneity.  I’m working hard to bring back the “me time” that got lost in the craziness.  I’m searching for my creativity and I think I know where its hiding.

And most importantly, I know the kind of balance I want to create and I’m confident its possible.  I’m 26 and doing pretty well for myself.  I don’t need to have a detailed plan with 27 steps.  I can just breathe, create, laugh, and see where life takes me.  And for me, that’s a pretty fresh perspective.

“It’s a brand new day.  It’s a brand new day.
For the first time in such a long, long time.
I know, I’ll be ok.”  ~Brand New Day by Joshua Radin.

Special thanks to JL and JML for all your love and support this week.

Welcome January and New Beginnings

Welcome 2011!  The theme for the blog this month is New Beginnings.  I plan to highlight stories and thoughts about beginning again, whether with relationships, career, friendships, or goals.  Do you have a good story to share?  I’d love to hear it!

I’m thrilled to have started the new year off with such a great day.  Not only did I accomplish a lot, but I surprised myself a little with a two mile run tonight.  I actually felt pretty amazing when I was finished, and even though I know that the temps will drop again here in Pittsburgh (today had a high in the 50’s!!!), I think I’d like to begin a running adventure.

I’ve started two new classes over at Big Picture both being taught by Ali Edwards: One Little Word and Yesterday & Today.  It took me awhile to decide if I wanted to take on the commitment of yesterday and today: it appears to be a pretty intense class.  But after a recommendation from scrapblogger Cathy Zielski, I felt it was a good class to attempt this winter.

And finally, my first day with my #olw (One Little Word), abundance, felt pretty good.  I approached my work, my run, and my interaction with family with  the abundance.  Today that meant energy, honesty, and intensity.  And when I got bogged down mid-afternoon, as I often do, I pushed through it and had a great evening.  So here’s to abundance tomorrow. . . and a Pittsburgh Penguins win tonight!