Posts Tagged With: Gluttony

7 Quick Takes Friday: Vol 10

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My first thought upon seeing Jennifer’s 7 Quick Takes in my Google Reader queue was something along the lines of “What the crap are people doing on the internet right now?!?!?!?!?!?” I’m utterly brain dead after two days of non-stop baking, driving, and eating. Of course, a look around at Jen’s blog shows that dozens of bloggers are posting their takes. Good gravy. Now I feel obligated.

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Yes, I’m one of those obsessive people who weighs myself every morning, especially on mornings when I know I won’t like the results. We attended a grand total of 3 Thanksgiving feasts between Wednesday and Thursday. Between Wednesday morning and Friday morning….I gained 4 pounds.

The scale don’t lie.

So there’s the bad news. The good news (or really, horribly, terrible news, depending on your point of view) is that I thought it would be worse…

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Scott and I watched all 3 (REAL) Spiderman movies in the last week. We watched that pitiful excuse for a reboot as well, which is what spurred the marathon. Had to wash the taste of the reboot out of our mouths. Now, when I saw the 3rd movie in the theater, I hated it. In fact, I don’t think I ever watched it again, and someone bought me the DVD when it first came out. However, it was better on the second watch. Much better than the reboot.

I’m sorry, but Sam Raimi’s Spiderman was perfect–for 2 movies, anyway. It was somewhat less than perfect, but still wonderful, for a 3rd.

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I’m redesigning my blog to make it more sortable! So, up top, you can go straight to Daily Mass Readings, Daily Prayers (which, sadly, are posted far less than daily), or to Everything Else if you want to skip straight to hearing my psychotic babbling about the Catholic Church, food, and whatever else pops into my line of sight.

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2 years ago, I was able to get a free printer from the employee rewards program at work. It’s this one here, to be specific. There were several printers available from the program, and I did my research, and made sure I got the best one. We’d been through several printers, but when it came to printing photos, which was my #1 wish, we never quite got the quality we wanted. At the time, (I have no idea if it’s currently true) it was the highest rated printer on Amazon. I was so excited when it came! Of course, we were moving, so I left it in the box. For the next few months. I had to hook it up to print out income tax return information. And then I printed coupons from time to time. Printed out quite a few papers for our trip back in September. A few months ago, I had to replace the ink, and it dawned on me that we had not printed a single photo! Just documents! How boring is that? So, a few days ago, I bought a 12$ collage frame at WalMart and printed out 7 pictures from our vacation, added a vintage postcard and voila! I finally used my printer! Then, I took a hasty, blurry picture of it with my cellphone…

…and sent it to my sister in the hopes that she could feel the picture quality without being able to really see it. They actually turned out very well! Good to know how well the printer works after having it for 2 years.

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Yes, that’s a picture of Scott and Elvis. And the picture above it, that you can’t really see because of the flash? That’s me and a different Elvis.

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I keep telling myself I don’t need to go to the store, I mean, ANY store today. My brain, however, is just convinced that I must. Pete’s sake, I’m working until 9:30pm (gotta love retail holiday hours), so why would I want to go to some overcrowded, overshopped store? I guess since I work right next to WalMart, the marketing vibes are hitting my brain every day.

Brain: Hey, I need to go get some more green tea after work.

Me: What the? Dude! We have, like, 4 boxes of it at home!

Brain: But I don’t know how much of the mint I have left.

Me: Ssssh! Whatevs! If we run out, we can just make of the plain tea and put some toothpaste in it!

Brain: Fine. *1 hour later* Hey, we need to stop and get some fruit!

Me: Seriously?!?!?! We bought 20 pounds of fruit only a week ago! We’ve still got tons to go through!

Brain: But I don’t know that I have enough blueberries.

Me: Pete’s sake! We have at least 15 bananas and who knows how many bags of strawberries! We’ll get by!

Brain: Fine. *45 minutes later* Hey, let’s go get a new picture frame after work!

Me: What?!?!?! No, no, no! No more picture frames until I get some more pictures printed off!

Brain: Fine. *Half an hour later* I need yeast! What if I want to make some homemade bread?

Me: OHMYGOSHYOU’REANIDIOT!!!!!!!

And we go back and forth like that pretty much all day.

We being…me. And me.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Only a week and 2 days left until Advent! I hope it will be merry and bright for all!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eat Better: Lessons Learned So Far

The primary purpose of this project is to be better stewards of what we have, to stop throwing food away. It would also be nice, I must say, to save some money and be able to give more to the Regional Food Bank. The message I keep getting is to SLOW DOWN. I throw things away without thinking twice, or even thinking about it at all, leading me to believe that perhaps we throw away a lot more food than I thought we did.

Money Matters

I thought I had slowed down and shown careful consideration. I suppose I was wrong. I made a meal plan, I went to the grocery store, and I quite painfully submitted to not getting anything that wasn’t on the list. Despite not buying any meat, aside from a package of bacon, I was shocked that my total was still $110. No bags of chicken breasts, no giant pot roasts, and still $110! And that’s on top of $30 I spent the night before at Walmart. Upon consulting my meal plan, I was even more shocked. I only planned 12 simple dinners and some soups for my lunches. Maybe it will just take a while for the savings to catch up with me.

The Tortilla Situation

I found a recipe online for Chicken Tortilla Soup from Souper Salad, a restaurant that used to be in this area and hopefully will be again! The recipe called for corn tortillas, which I considered replacing with chips, but decided to get the tortillas instead. The smallest pack of corn tortillas I could find was a 30 pack. I knew I wouldn’t need 30 tortillas but without a second thought (of course) I threw the 30 pack in my cart.

After fixing my soup and portioning it out into 7 freezable bowls, I started thinking about those leftover tortillas. I only used 8. That meant 22 were going in the trash. I kept telling myself I could freeze them, but would I? What else was I going to make with them? I have a few recipes, but that would involve getting a lot more ingredients. Within the first few days of my Eat Better Project, I’m already wasting food. I felt horrible.

I wandered around the kitchen, hoping inspiration would hit me and….taquitos! I could cook up some chicken breast, roll some taquitos and freeze them myself! Scott would love to have them in the freeze for quick lunches when he’s home alone.

My first round of attempts was very poor. It turns out, you do have to wrap corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and put them in the microwave for a few minutes before rolling them. The instructions on the package speak the truth. So, 7 tortillas went in the trash anyway. But we ended up with 15 taquitos! And since I didn’t have any taco seasoning on hand, I made my own. Without all the sodium.

Brisket Stew

I’ve had half a brisket in the freezer for some time now, and I decided to go ahead and fix it up in the crockpot and chop it up. I left some meat out for our meals for the next few days, but froze a few pounds for later. I figured it would be handy for days when I just don’t know what to cook. Once I was done chopping, I was left with a crockpot full of….flavor! I had filled the crockpot with water and boullion, which was now mixed with the stock from the brisket. I was a little antsy about all the chili powder I’d thrown in, but I grabbed a spoon, had a sip and after some debate decided it would be suitable for stew!

Potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, parsley, tomatoes, and about a cup of the brisket meat, and it made for one spicy stew! I was very heavy handed with my brisket seasoning when I put it in. I ended up having 2 bowls for supper, though! It was fantastic! And I had 7 more bowls of soup in the freezer for my lunches.

Stretching it Out

So, I’m on day 11 and I’ve still got 9 meals left from my original meal plan. We’ve been very good with leftovers and have found that we can get an extra meal or two out of a dish just by eating all of it. If there’s not much left, chop up some extra salad or put a slice of bread on the plate. We’ve also had a few suppers out of the soup that was supposed to be for my lunches. However, after making a batch of Potato Soup and Pumpkin Bisque (Yum!) in addition a few leftover bowls of Chicken Tortilla Soup and Brisket Stew, we still have about a dozen bowls of soup in the freezer. I did have to make a grocery trip for $30 because we we low on milk and bread and a few other things. While I was disappointed, if we continue to be diligent about not throwing food out and eating what we have, we should be able to make it until the first week of October before we have to do a full shopping trip again.

So far…

I’m slowly getting into the proper mindset. Rather than throwing something out (like the broth or the tortillas) I’m starting to see what I can do with it. But that’s not enough! As I learned with the tortillas, I need to have a plan for every ounce of food before I buy it to make sure nothing goes to waste. It was good fortune that I had everything I needed to make the Brisket Stew and the taquitos. Otherwise, I would have wasted it!

I actually started this post about a week ago. What I said about saving money at the beginning of the post? Here’s where the savings come in: we haven’t eaten out in 11 days. I wanted to get our eating out down to twice a month. We are well on our way! In July, we spent over $220 eating out and in August we spent over $130! August really hacks me off because we were trying so hard to save money for our trip and we still let $130 slip through our hands when we could have spent much less to eat at home. And while we were out spending that money, groceries we had bought were going bad at home and had to be thrown out.

Finally, I’d like to say how happy I am with making my own soups and freezing them rather than buying canned soups. I may get a pressure canner, or ask for one for Christmas so I can can my soups. I love being able to control what goes in. My recipes may need tweeking, but they don’t have to be perfect the first try, they still taste wonderful and I’m not picking out the things I don’t like. I’m also getting a lot less sodium and other preservatives. Well worth it.

Categories: Eat Better, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Back to Business: The Eat Better Project

It took me a little longer to recover from vacation than I had expected, but I’m back! Arrival back at the real world has been rough, but it’s actually a relief to get back on budget. Hawaii is incredibly expensive. When you’re used to pinching pennies, spending $50 on cheeseburgers for lunch or $20 for hotdogs, plus the constant purchasing of souvenirs…let’s just say, I felt like my checking account was hemorrhaging all week! When we got back home on Saturday, we still had some frozen and pantry items, so I didn’t have to go grocery shopping until Tuesday. However, as soon as we got home, I remembered a pledge I had made a few days before our trip: No more throwing away food.

Poor Stewardship

It all started when I read that Americans throw out an average of 40% of our food. I was appalled. This is very poor stewardship. So many people go hungry, while those of us who have enough to eat throw out almost half of it. At this point in our lives, we certainly don’t throw out nearly 40% of our food, but there was a time when we probably got close to that. We worked long hours and planned to eat at home, but ended up eating out almost every day instead. So a lot of the groceries we bought ended up in the trash. Currently, I would say maybe about 15-20% of our food goes in the trash. The jar of queso we opened but never finished, that last helping of spaghetti neither of us wanted, the last tomato out of a pack of 4 that went moldy, etc. It’s just a little bit here and there but it adds up quickly!

Poor Eating Habits

I lost about 30 pounds from January to June. However, with quitting smoking and vacation, I’ve managed to rediscover 10 of those pounds. But it’s not just about losing weight. I want to feel better. I’m tired of being tired, of dragging through the days. Just a few months ago, I was eating fresh salads, fresh fruit and veggies, and grilled meats. Now what are we eating? Boxed dinners, canned soups, frozen lasagnas, and it’s all stuffed with sodium, sodium, sodium! Why did we deviate from eating fresh? Oh, right. Things didn’t get eaten. Veggies went in the trash by the bagful. Ugh.

Gluttony

It’s a big problem in America. We don’t like to think of it as a sin, but it is. It’s an excess, a deadly excess, and it’s something else I’m putting between myself and God. We need to be better stewards of what is given to us: our bodies, our money, our food. We need to exercise the virtue of temperance:

Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: “Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart.” Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: “Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites.” In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought “to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world.

CCC 1809

When I first converted to Catholicism, one of the things that really stood out to me was temperance. To know when to stop. For me, gluttony seems to touch everything I do. When I smoked, I would smoke 2 or 3 cigarettes in a row. Sometimes, I’d have 4 or 5 just getting around in the morning while I drank coffee. If I like a show on Netflix, I’ll watch 4 episodes in a row, every night until I’ve gone through the entire series. More, more, more. But the most stunning excess is what I’m willing to waste. How many times have I thrown food away just to make room in the refrigerator, when it wasn’t even bad? How many times have I lit a cigarette, knowing I could only have a few puffs on it before I had to throw it out?

According to our annual income, we’re middle class, but according to our excesses, we’re flipping filthy rich. It has to stop.

Eat Better Project

No, this blog isn’t going to be all about eating right and under budget. But I’ll probably check in about once per week with an update about my Eat Better Project. The rules are thus:

  1. Avoid throwing food away as much as possible. This can be difficult, because sometimes things just end up going bad before we get to them. Proper preparation and planning… I’m not hoping to drop our food waste to 0% by any means, but I’d like to bring it down to a minimum. I think I’ll keep track, even.
  2. Reduce canned meals, frozen meals, and boxed meals (veggies and fruits are okay canned). One exception on the frozen meals: if I prepare the food myself and freeze it, it’s okay.
  3. Eat breakfast!
  4. Reduce our grocery bill by at least $20/week (it’s currently around…$80-$100/week). Give at least half of that saved money to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Ideally, I’d like to get our grocery shopping down to once every 2-3 weeks. Depending on the expiration date on the milk, I suppose.
  5. Reduce eating out to twice per month.

Lofty goals? It can be done. It can certainly be done. Not on my own, of course, but God gives us grace to overcome every sin.

Categories: Chasing After God, Eat Better, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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