Category Archives: Informative

Weekly Eating -3/4/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Happy Spring Forward! Yes indeed it is time to change the clocks yet again, if you haven’t yet. I won’t get on my soap box about the pointlessness of Daylight Savings in today’s day and age… I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.

Well, we didn’t get to build the coop yet, but the greenhouse did get put together last weekend. So I’m pretty excited about it. Now I just need to actually start some seeds and get them inside.

build your own greenhouse

And I led a really fun Durham Food Tour, everyone was talkative and just there for a good time. The food was great as always, and now our last stop started giving us wine! We were all ok with that.

Durham food tour

Then I candied a bunch of orange peels and pickled several dozen quail eggs for next week’s coming food swap, and moved the eggs from the turner to the hatcher level of the incubator! CHICK TIME.

candied orange peels turmeric pickles quail eggs

Monday:

Breakfast – hashbrown and eggs cooked together into a patty with lunch meat and avocado between; actually pretty darn delicious

hashbrown sandwich

Lunch – leftover food from the Food Tour, an apple, and tea

leftover Neomonde

Dinner – mishmash of leftovers

Tuesday:

Breakfast – breakfast scramble with potato, peppers, zucchini, and onion, then poured scrambled eggs on top and mixed it all up.

breakfast scramble

Snack – a baklava leftover from the food tour

Lunch – leftover colcannon, I made a huge batch over the weekend

leftover colcannon

Snack – apple with almond butter and raisins

Dinner – sweet potato and squash noodles with meat sauce and ribs

sweet potato noodles pasta

ANNNNNDDDD I came home to 3 little chickies already hatched!

cotournix quail chick hatched

I set up the brooder in the spare room, and stared at them in amazement until bedtime.

Wednesday:

At least 2 more are a-hatching this morning!

Breakfast – apple with almond butter and raisins. I’m starting to crave this particular combo daily

apple with almond butter and raisins

Lunch – leftover ribs & veggie spaghetti, hummus with raw veg

leftover and hummus

Snack – a monster cookie from work

Dinner – boiled potato, celery, carrot, and onion until soft and then blended it until smooth. Added some cashew cream, nutritional yeast, and chimmichurri from a previous steak dinner, and threw in some cooked ground turkey. Kind of a kitchen sink soup, it was tasty.

veggie and meat soup

SEVEN MORE CHICKS! Up to 10 Total out of 14 eggs now. Literally popped some popcorn and sat and stared at them all night again. #FreeEntertainment #FrugalHobbies

watching quail TV

Thursday:

Breakfast – apple with almond butter and raisins

apple sliced with almond butter and raisins

Lunch – veggie stir fry and a krispy kreme donut at work

veggie stir fry with a donut

Dinner – pork chops with a massive veggie stir fry & cauliflower rice

pork chops and veggie stir fry

Snack –  made a Whole30 compliant sort-of apple crisp with my instapot applesauce, almonds, coconut, and spices. Don’t even @ me about SWYPO because I already think the whole thing is bunk.

whole30 apple crisp

Friday:

One of the remaining 4 eggs is hatching!!! I’m glad I didn’t give up, and let them go one more day.

Breakfast – apple with almond butter and raisins, surprise! When I find a thing I like, I tend to play it on repeat. Saves time and money.

apple sliced with almond butter and raisins

Lunch – egg salad with flax crackers, hummus and veggies

egg salad with flax crackers and hummus

Snack – someone brought Panera pastries and I had a cranberry one

Dinner – sheet pan ginger salmon with broccoli, and potato and yellow squash fries

sheet pan salmon

The Weekend

Okay for real this time, we will build the coop. Quail grow fast, and these lil guys will be not so little and ready to move outside in 4-5 weeks, so I want to be ready.

baby quail

Can you EVEN with this face?? He’s SNUGGLING MY FINGER WITH HIS TEENY BABY WINGS. My heart is a puddle on the floor.

Food Total: $29.58 + 68.32

Weekly Produce Box = the Keto Box, since it was the best value for the most Whole30 compliant items. We got white sweet potatoes (some of which I’ll try to sprout and grow!), yellow squash, kale, lettuce, spinach, cucumber, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. All the plastic packaging will be returned for them to reuse!

the produce box

And at the store I stocked up on more eggs, a few different types of meats that were on sale, some spiralized veggies to try out (no I do not have a spiralizer yet, and yes I will get one maybe someday).

Meats $28.60 Dairy $5.00 Staples $2.28 Fruit/Veg $31.10
3lb ground turkey 9.97 2 dozen eggs cage free 5 whole wheat pasta x4 2.28 carrots 2lb 0.99
chicken sausages 5 spinach 9oz 2.99
London broil steak 6.36 clementines 3lb 2.99
org chicken breast 2 3.28 spiral veg squash/zucchini 7
pork chops 2 3.99 spiral veg fresh sw pot zucchini 7.98
russet potato 8lb 2.79
celery 2.79
parsley 1.59
The Produce Box 3/4/19 29.58 iceberg 0.99
blackberries 0.99

 

Lessons Learned

Y’all, raising quail is a delight! I had thought I would like it, but now that they are here, I could not be happier. The adults are everything I dreamed and more, and hatching my own is a g#$ d*&$ miracle.

Seriously. I am meant to be a farmer, I believe it with my whole heart. Taking care of critters and plants makes me so unbelievably happy, and to make an omelet or sandwich from eggs I collected myself that morning? Total bliss.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 2/25/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

So, last weekend was a delight. Friday night I went to Legends in Raleigh for my first drag show in a long time. It was very entertaining, with a huge crowd and many talented ‘ladies’. There were some people there promo-ing a new drink, and we got free really soft tshirts. It was a suuuper late night though.

Legends drag show

Therefore I was glad that our brunch with Steve wasn’t too early. We went to True Flavors diner in Durham. The wait was insane, I guess I underestimated how serious a thing brunch is in the South. We walked around and checked out the plaza while we waited, and picked up a few yeasts to try in our next winemaking adventure.

Tru Flavors brunch skillet

And the food was worth the wait. Everyone swooned over theirs, regardless of whether it was chicken and waffles or a skillet meal. There were also plenty of leftovers, so the portion sizes were quite generous. And the coffee milkshake is far more filling than you may give it credit for.

ALSO of note, the boy sprung it on me Saturday night that he wanted to do an elimination diet. We had discussed it before, to try to see if any of his ongoing allergies is food related. So we are doing a Whole30, sort of.

whole30 condiments

The goal is not so much to just make it through 30 days without sugar and grains (sidenote, WTF cutting out whole grains and legumes, two of the healthiest food groups on the planet?!?) but to eat as few typical allergen producing foods as possible for 3 weeks, then to slowly reintroduce one at a time.

Grains, dairy, alcohol, soy, corn, legumes, and sugar are gone.

Meats, all vegetables, any fruit, nuts, seeds, are totally fine.

I spent all of Sunday grocery shopping and meal prepping and creating Whole30 compliant condiments (ketchup, mayo, Ranch, Italian, cashew cream) and snacks.

whole30 snacks

And to kick it off, our first dinner was filet mignon with garlic rosemary potatoes and asparagus. Not feeling deprived yet!

Monday:

Breakfast – fruit smoothie

fruit smoothie

Snack – apricot almond energy balls

Lunch – was a crazzzzzzy day and I ended up stuck away from my desk so I didn’t have my lunch on me. But the cafeteria surprisingly provided. A plain baked potato w hot sauce, relish, salt & pepper, and a side salad with plain vinegar s+p.

potato and salad

Dinner – pumpkin chili: literally just thawed some pumpkin puree from the fall, mixed with a can of whole tomatoes I smushed up and 1lb ground turkey. Added some chili powder and dash of garlic salt, and it was really tasty. I had mine over another plain baked potato.

pumpkin chili over baked potato

Snack – whole apple sliced thin with 2 tbsp almond butter drizzled over it and raisins on top. This is an AMAZING snack FYI.

apple sliced with almond butter and raisins

The boy demolished 90% of a 3lb bag of clementines. By himself.

bag of clementines

Tuesday:

Noticing at this point that I am constantly hungry. Like, my stomach can be stretch-out-full and I’m still hungry.

Breakfast – scrambled quail eggs with potatoes, radishes, peppers, onions, cabbage, yellow squash, and spinach

egg scramble

Lunch – leftover brunch; duck with eggs and roasted veggies and potatoes

leftover brunch

Snack – dried apricots and pistachios

apricots and pistachios

Dinner – Lemon pepper salmon with mashed potatoes and green beans almondine. Can you tell the difference in portions between myself and the boy haha

salmon potatoes and green beans

Wednesday:

Breakfast – fruit smoothie

smoothie in fridge

Snack – apple

Lunch – 3 oz leftover salmon mixed with Whole30 mayo, avocado, and cucumber in lettuce wraps; roasted cauliflower; grapes, almonds

whole30 lunch spread

Snack – energy balls

Dinner – Slow cooker beef roast with rainbow carrots and potatoes.

slow cooker roast beef

The boy decided to make ghetto gyros (get-yos is what he’s calling them) and I put my beef over a huge salad with romaine, avocado, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, and raisins with Whole30 Ranch.

slow cooker roast beef

Feel pretty full. For about 30 minutes. Then starving again.

Snack – pineapple cubes

pineapple and all the whole30 books

Also got a stack of ALL the Whole30 books from a friend who has done it 3 times. Gonna binge read all week now.

Thursday:

Wake up starving.
Breakfast – Giant 5 egg omelet with peppers, onions, and mushrooms that I split w the boy and black coffee

half an omelet

Lunch – leftover pot roast and carrots/potatoes, pineapple

roast and pineapple

Snack – matcha energy ball, clementine, pistachios

matcha energy ball

Dinner – Chicken breasts and baked potato/sweet potato with avocado, cashew cream, salsa, frozen mixed vegetables, homemade purple sauerkraut

huge plate of food

Read almost all of “It Starts With Food” already. NOT convinced at all on their reasoning or ‘science’ for omitting grains/legumes and there are no citations… Same for their pseudoscience claims about soy and phytoestrogens.

Friday:

Woke up with terrible allergies, itchy nose/face, congestion. Pretty sure it’s just spring time and not the diet, though it does claim to help decrease inflammation

Breakfast – egg and lunchmeat sandwich with potato “toast” = slice potatoes thinly, then cook in toaster by popping them down 4-5 times until cooked

breakfast sandwich with potato toast

Lunch – Enormous salad of romaine, spinch, purple cabbage, rainbow carrots, cucumber, avocado, walnuts, and dried apricots with plain vinegar

giant salad and apple

Had to put my fork down and come back to it a few times, because I got nauseated at the thought of another bite of lettuce or cucumber…

Snack – Sliced apple with 2 tbsp almond butter and raisins, a banana, dried green beans

Dinner – ground turkey fajitas; mine was over a salad while the boys was wrapped in steamed cabbage leaves

fajita salad

The Weekend

Big plans this weekend! I’ve got a new greenhouse to assemble, a brooder to prep for this coming week’s chicks (hopefully!) and a new coop to build. Pleeeeeeease let the weather cooperate.

Food Total: $32.13 + $67.83

Weekly Produce Box = Eat the Uglies again, plus a blemished apple stock up box. This is the biggest head of cabbage I’ve ever seen! And I’m gonna make some Instant Pot applesauce for next week snacks.

Produce Blemish Box

We also took a trip to ALDI to stock up on some things to get us through Week 1 of Whole30. I will be eating a million percent more meat than usual, since they took away my grains and legumes, and am a little nervous about it, but willing to give it a try.

I made a meal plan using plenty of produce and frozen items we had at home, with a few additions for the boy’s convenience. He has very busy workdays which means very little time for food, and I’d prefer he eat lunchmeat rolls or drumsticks than skip lunch.

Meats $16.21 Dairy $3.18 Staples $17.22 Fruit/Veg $29.89
chicken drumsticks 3.34 dozen eggs x2 3.18 tomato paste 3 1.17 riced cauliflower 1.89
salmon 1lb 6.39 fresh hot salsa 4.89 steam cali mix veg 0.99
roast beef lunchmeat 3.99 garlic 3 heads 0.79 romaine 3 1.99
turkey lunchmeat 2.49 grapeseed oil 3.99 hashbrowns 1.65
100% juice x2 6.38 3pk bolored peppers 1.99
green grapes 1.5lb 2.69
Mandarins 3lb 2.69
Gala apples 3lb 1.69
avocados 15 10.47
baby bellas 0.99
radishes 0.59
bananas 2 bunches 2.26

Lessons Learned

Whole30 is an AMAZING idea if your diet is shit right now.

If you are eating the “SAD” (Standard American Diet) containing oodles of refined grains and sugars, and minimal produce, you should probably do a Whole30. It will make your health better. Anything that causes you to drop sugar, junk food, and eat more produce will.

However.

For someone who already has a great relationship with and respect for food, especially where it comes from and how high quality it is, eats a wide variety of vegetables and fruits and nuts and seeds, and also knows the actual scientific evidence of the effect of high levels of animal product consumption on human health?

Not so great.

So, I don’t think I will complete this Whole30 journey after all.

I have no suspicions about food allergies, and I have no underlying psychological issues with my relationship with any food or food group, save popcorn. And I may legitimately follow through on 30 days without that.

Also for health reasons I’m going to stay on the no sugar and no alcohol bandwagon. No dairy is easy too, since I use it minimally in my usual life. I will keep cooking Whole30 for the boy, since he is doing this for the elimination and figure-out-allergies reason.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

BE’s Seven Simple Rules of the Road

 

The vast majority of working (or even non-working) adults own a car and have to drive. We drive to work, to school, to the store, to the bank, to the mall, to children’s practices and events, to visit friends and family, to go on vacation.

I know MMM would like to punch us all in the face for that, but it is a fact of life. Most of us just cannot, or will not, function without a car.

Related Post: My Commuting Mistake

So, since we will all spend approximately 9999999 hours sitting in traffic (not an actual statistic, I hope), we should all at least agree on some basic fundamental rules.

At least I assume everyone who is driving holds a valid license.

And to get that license, you had to complete Drivers Ed training.

Maybe that was 4 decades ago, but still. You learned the rules at some point.

But as we get out onto the road and actually drive, those rules tend to morph and change and fall by the wayside. We make up our own rules, and tend to ignore the less convenient ones.

We think whatever it is we need to do and wherever it is we are going is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than that of the other 367254387 cars on the road around us.

So, let me remind you of the rules, and add a few of my own.

Cuss words changed to be more colorful and reader friendly.

  1. Learn how to forking zipper.
    Say you are on a road, where two lanes merge into one. You are in the blue car, the green car is in front of you. You see the red car on the left, trying to merge.What do you do?a) Speed up and ride the green car so the red car can’t get in and you can get home 0.05 seconds faster
    b) Not be a donkey and let the red car in
    how to zipper
    The ONLY acceptable answer is b. Do not be a donkey.Nothing makes my blood boil like some forking gremlin a-hole driving dangerously close to the car in front and studiously avoiding eye contact while you correctly have your turn signal blinking (see #3) and are trying to merge into a lane.
  2. The flip side of that is, do not just zip down the left lane and cut your turn in line because YOU want to get home 0.04 seconds faster.

    Literally everyone in the right lane who zippered correctly now hates you and is hoping you die in a ditch. In case you didn’t know.

  3. Use your gremlin turn signals. Correctly.
    There is not much in life that will rocket my blood pressure faster than someone who just assumes all the lanes are theirs to swerve through and cuts me off with nary a heads up or sorry I’m an idiot wave.

    IF YOU ARE TURNING OR MERGING PUT YOUR BLINKER ON. 

    That is literally the purpose for which they exist.

    AND THEN REMEMBER TO TURN THEM OFF.

    Please don’t drive for 2 miles in the right lane with your left blinker on, causing nice people who want to let you in some serious confusion and slow downs. Or turn on your left blinker, but then turn right. Again, die in a ditch, please.

  4. Do. not. tailgate. period. I will mess with you.
    People who ride my bumper when I am already doing 10-15 over the speed limit?

    Bruh, I don’t care if your wife is about to give birth, if your house is on fire, or you just don’t want to miss the start of the game.

    Imma slow down to exactly the speed of the car in the right lane, and ride it out until the next stop light. Then I’m gonna wait when it turns green, until just before it turns red, and zoom through to get you stuck there.

    You flashing your lights, or honking at me, will just make me smile.

    And no regrets. I hope you learn your lesson.

  5. Leave some space between you and the car in front of you.
    Not exactly like #4 above, but to prevent yourself from having to tap the brakes every 3 seconds.

    THIS is the cause of most traffic jams, according to physics & math.

    If all cars left an appropriate amount of space (1 car length for every 10 mph you are going, remember?) we could avoid a lot of 8am and 5pm cussing.

  6. If you are on a bike, or walking, you have rights.
    But YOU ARE NOT A CAR. No matter what NC says.

    Don’t get me wrong. The onus for avoiding crashes rests securely on ALL parties shoulders.

    Cars need to be aware at all times. NO texting. No games. Not even a phone call unless it’s with a hands-free device. And to respect pedestrians’ rights to cross at crosswalks, and cyclists’ right to be on the road too.

    But pedestrians also need common sense of ‘look both ways’ before you cross, comply with traffic lights and crossing signals.

    Bicyclists should follow all the same traffic laws as cars do, and not ride side-by-side in the middle of a road that has a speed limit of 45 and you’re going a maximum of 20 mph.

  7. There is a fine line between proper caution in weather and being a donkey.
    Also, weather is not an excuse to drive like a donkey.

    Whether you’re a 70-year veteran of driving in Montana winters or a delicate snowflake raised on the Equator who doesn’t know what snow it, people freak the fork out when it precipitates.

    All the same road laws still apply. Still, and especially now, do not tailgate, change lanes without warning, speed (too much).

    Some people seem to take a deluge as an excuse to blow past the “slow” people at 30 over the speed limit, just because they have all wheel drive or something.

    But now, yes, some extra caution is advised. The more severe the weather, the more cautious you ought to be. Having hit mailboxes and guard rails during snow or rain, even though I was doing everything right, I can say that accidents do and will happen. You should try your best to mitigate those risks.

    On the flip side, don’t be the shirt-head who is now cruising on the highway at 20mph with your flashers on. It is literally only sprinkling. And you’re dumb.

traffic at night

There you have it, seven simple rules to make everyone have a much more peaceful, harmonious drive. None of us want to be there, but we all have to be. So show a little compassion and understanding, and we will all get where we’re going.

 

What say you? Too harsh? Not strong enough words? Are there any rules you wish we could get rid of, or enforce?

 

Weekly Eating – 2/11/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Last weekend we started off with a big bonfire and party, which was a lot of fun. But also tiring. We stayed up way too late, and maybe had a few too many beers. Saturday and Sunday were much slower and quieter haha.

Monday:

Breakfast – green smoothie: spinach, banana, frozen tropical fruit mix, flaxseed

green smoothie

Lunch – it was a super crazy day so I didn’t have time for lunch, but I got a late afternoon cup of tea and a nut bar, so that’s good. Oh, and someone brought Krispy Kreme donuts, so I had one of those.

afternoon tea

Dinner –I treated us to Chipotle burritos! The boy got steak and I got a sofritas with guac and it was glorious

Chipotle sofritas burrito with guac

Tuesday:

Breakfast – berry smoothie

berry black bean smoothie

Lunch – quinoa, cauliflower, black beans and cashews over a bed of mixed greens

quinoa cauliflower salad over a bed of greens

Snack – apple and a KIND bar

afternoon snack

Dinner – Instant Pot Fish & Veggies!

Instant Pot Fish & Veg

Wednesday:

Breakfast – berry smoothie, with black beans!

berry black bean smoothie

Lunch – leftover Instant pot fish & veg

Instant Pot Fish & Veg

Dinner – Enchiladas!

enchiladas

I had thawed a pound of free range Butcher Box ground beef. Mixed with some diced mushrooms and olives, and a healthy scoop of black beans, that made the perfect filling. I wrapped a big spoonful in a tortilla, times ten. Cover in diced tomatoes, chili powder, hot sauce, and garlic salt, plus a little shredded Mexican cheeses.

enchiladas

Thursday:

Breakfast – berry smoothie with black beans

berry black bean smoothie

Lunch – since it was Valentine’s Day, there was a party at work. They provided pizza, and everyone else brought salad and toppings and desserts. I had an eggplant pizza slice, it was surprisingly delicious

Valentines Day pizza & salad Valentines Day pizza & salad

Dinner – the boy always cooks on Valentine’s, since I cook 99% of the time. He met me at the door in a suit, there were candles everywhere, it was lovely. There is a no phone rule on V Day so no photos, sorry!

Friday:

Breakfast – mooooore smoothie!

Lunch – leftover enchiladas

Dinner – more leftover enchiladas! And there are still 2 left if you can believe it. I love making huge batches of meals that last all week

The Weekend

This weekend my pal Erin at Reaching For FI is in town, along with a special guest! And due to unfortunate sickness, we get the honor of hosting them. So I’m pretty stoked about that. Even if I nearly lost her friendship forever over my unpopular opinion on cumin

They already have plans Saturday and I have a Durham Food Tour lined up, so we won’t see much of each other. But then on Sunday, we are debating hitting up an all-you-can-drink mimosa brunch, and for sure will be stuffing our faces at All You Can Eat Sushi.

My sweat pants are ready.

AND, I finally got my quail egg incubator!!!

quail egg incubator

I have collected 7 eggs so far, and however many else I get Sat & Sun, they are all going in on Sunday. Quail eggs only take 18 days total to incubate, so I’ll have thumb-sized little chickies by March 8th! And, because they are small and their lifespan is so quick the girls will hopefully be up and laying eggs for me by April!

Oh, and no, Monday is not a holiday for me, I have to be at work at 8am thankyouverymuch. So if it is a holiday for you, boooo. And I hope you enjoy it.  🙂

Food Total: $53.40

Weekly Produce Box = I ordered all my favorite things this week: bananas, 2 lbs of beets, Brussels sprouts, Pink Lady apple, pears, rainbow carrots, cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash & cucumber

And a stop by Aldi for some sale produce and to restock some of my baking supplies that were running low or out.

Dairy $3.48 Staples $7.16 Fruit/Veg $8.48
Yogurt 12 3.48 4lb sugar 1.99 grape tomatoes pint 1.39
baking cocoa 1.79 blackberries 0.89
chocolate chips x2 3.38 baby bella mushrooms 0.99
cauliflower 1.29
avocados 8 3.92

Lessons Learned

Cooking a big ol batch of something that lasts for many days leftovers is a super time saver. Both the boy and myself had a couple doozies of a day at work this week, and I was too annoyed and/or exhausted to cook. As long as there’s still some enchiladas, then there is no reason to panic.

Also, dang it, not creating waste is next to impossible in this world today. I love having nuts and dried fruits as a snack, but a bar is even more convenient. I know I could make my own batch of KIND bars weekly, and should. But I just cannot dedicate enough mental space and time and effort to it. And that sucks.

Anyone have deep guilt and existential crises over our contribution to the demise of the planet? No, just me? Okay.

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 2/4/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

So, how did everyone enjoy the #SuperBoringBowl? Seriously, I don’t enjoy watching football at the best of times, and this game was a snooze fest. The commercials weren’t even good, and the halftime show was awful. At least the people we were hanging out with were fun, it was nice getting to know our neighbors better.

The deviled quail eggs that I made were an adorable, tiny, hit. The one good thing, besides hanging out and making new friends, was that the game was over earlyish and since we were just across the street, we were home and in bed by 10!

I also batch cooked a bunch of potatoes and sweet potatoes, and some rice and beans and a whole chicken. We also had leftover pulled pork, and 2 racks of ribs from our Costco run. Plus 2 giant bags of spinach and mixed greens, so you’ll see a lot of salad and leftovers this week.

 

Monday:

Breakfast – chocolate peanut butter black bean smoothie!

Yup, it has: 1/2 can black beans, 1 banana, 4 tbsp PB2 powder, 1/2 cup almond milk, handful frozen pineapple, handful of dates, handful of spinach, cocoa powder, flaxseed, and amla. Add water to desired consistency, serves 2.

chocolate peanut butter bean smoothie

Lunch – gigantic rainbow salad

giant salad

Dinner – leftovers from the super bowl party

Tuesday:

Breakfast –green smoothie: spinach, kale, kiwi, mango, pineapple, flax, and coconut water

green smoothie

Lunch – leftover goat cheese sliders with tomato soup and a salad. Oh, and I finally got this set of bamboo utensils that I’ve been eyeing for a long time! There is a fork, spook, knife, and straw with straw cleaning brush included in a canvas wrap. All biodegradable when eventually they are unusable. I love it!

(This blog participates in the Amazon Affiliate program. If you click that link above, and buy something, this blog gets a small commission which doesn’t change the price you pay. The commissions go towards paying for hosting and whatnot here, so if you choose to do that, thanks!)

goat cheese sliders and tomato soup

Snack – strawberries and mandarin oranges

Dinner – chicken and rice with a salad

chicken and rice

Wednesday:

Breakfast – quail egg and bacon breakfast burrito

bacon and egg breakfast burrito

Snack – salted peanuts

peanuts

Lunch – baked potato with black beans, spinach, pulled pork, and salsa

baked potato with black beans and spinach

Dinner – leftovers

Thursday:

Breakfast – green smoothie: spinach, blueberries, mango, kiwi, pineapple, flaxseed, and coconut water

green smoothie

Lunch – white bean and barley with rainbow carrot soup

white bean and barley soup

Dinner – more leftovers!

Friday:

Breakfast – smoothie of whatever was in the fridge

Lunch – baked sweet potato with spinach and black beans and salsa

baked sweet potato and salad

Dinner – we had a bonfire, so I made a bunch of pizzas and a pasta salad. Everyone also brought apps and snacks to share and we had a super fun night.

pizzas

The Weekend

Well Friday we had a bonfire (honestly because we had a huge pile of boxes to burn, but it had been too long since we had a thing too) and stayed up way too late. So Saturday was a lazy day of nothing doing. Sunday is part relaxing still but also part getting adult things done.

Food Total: $61.71

This was a Produce box and a HT run for some yogurts, almond milk, and DiGiorno’s were on sale. Frozen pizza is the boy’s favorite thing to have on hand for emergencies. Meaning I’m out doing something and there is no dinner planned. 🙂

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

2019 Goals: January Recap

 

In my first post for the year, I outlined why I don’t really get into “resolutions” so much as goal setting, and outlined my top goals for 2019. So, to help keep myself accountable, I will recap how each one is going, along with any tweaks or changes, each month.

I’d love to hear about your goals for this year and your progress in the comments below!

 

Thus, my goals for 2019 include:

Call one family member per week

I have been nailing this one for sure. The commute time home is the perfect time to catch up with far-flung family and friends. The caveat is that they need to be on roughly the same schedule, and in the same or very close time zone!

For example we have family and friends in Arizona, Texas, Colorado, California, and Seattle. If I call at 5pm my time, it is 4pm or 3pm there, and they will likely still be at work.

But I have definitely touched base with someone at least once a week, more often than not 3 -4 different people each week. It’s been awesome. I learned about an old friends’ baby’s progress and daycare, her new job, and the house search. I chatted for over an hour with a grandmother whom I rarely talk to, and heard all kinds of stories of her life and youth.

This is a good one.

A+

Date night at least once per month

My relationship with my boy is the most important one in my life. Luckily, I think he’s pretty cool, and he thinks I’m pretty cool too.

Most nights when I get home, he is already working on his business (spoilers!) or playing games online with friends. Since that is basically his only way to stay in touch with them and his main social interaction I encourage it. Usually I spend the evening doing yoga, writing, reading, cooking, or watching my shows (Grace & Frankie and Fuller House right now, in case you wondered).

We have not been doing great at this, mostly because we hate going out after dark and I hate paying for food… gotta find some “at home date night ideas” and put those into play.

C

Savings rate of 50% or better every month

This will be complicated since we both have a work mandated 401k, as well as an HSA and Roths to factor in, before any contributions to our mortgage, taxable investment accounts, and money market.

The market is crazy and net worth is not a thing I can control. But savings rate, we can control, and improve.

We just barely squeaked by here, at about 55% for Jan! But with the travel churn spending that is going down/about to go down, I don’t have high hopes for the next few months…

Oh, and if you haven’t heard of Personal Capital yet, it is a pretty cool software tool that collects all your accounts in one place. Bank, investments, mortgage, loans. And then you can see how your net worth changes over time, based on your debt paydown and market conditions. They give you suggestions too.

If you want to sign up & use my link HERE (and link at least 1 qualifying account) I get $20 and you also get $20 to start with.
So, that’d be nice.

A

Max out both Roth IRAs by end of February

Well, we haven’t done this yet… but we have a few more weeks!

C

Veganuary (ish) – one month of 99% vegan eating

My lifelong intended way of eating is 80/20 plant-based.

With a few exceptions (animal products I raised or of very high quality, and when at another person’s house) I have been nailing the Veganuary, and feeling pretty great.

I had been craving salad so hard, and finally gave in and bought a cartload of greens. Only to be struck immediately by single use plastic guilt.

Why is it that the only way to get lettuce or arugula is to buy a plastic bag or a giant plastic clamshell? It hurts my heart that this is what I have to do to help my heart!

Anyways, I was probably about 90% vegan if you go by strict rules, but I had my exceptions in place, so it was perfect from my standpoint. Depends who you ask.

B-

The Daily Dozen – I will do my best all year to stick to this

I finally downloaded the app onto my phone, so now I can better track what I’ve already eaten and what I still need!

The greens were the area when I fell short most often, hence the above guilt laden foray to the grocery store. Part of it is also that we are in winter, and fresh greens are hard to come by without a greenhouse.

The two best ways I’ve found of checking multiple boxes are: fruit nice cream or smoothies, and oatmeal. Both are really easy to sneak loads of ground flaxseed into without noticing, as well as fruit (both), whole grains (oats), or greens (spinach in smoothies).

The smoothies have been the bomb, and I’ve checked all the boxes most days, but there were definitely multiple days where I fall short on beans especially, or cruciferous veggies.

B

Do more of what is good or good for me

Defined as things that are mentally, physically, emotionally, or financially beneficial.

I did move some savings into a brokerage account to go for some stocks we’ve been discussing. It is a thing that just seems overwhelming for no reason, I just had to rip off the band aid and DO IT. And do it we did, and it feels great to just have it done.

I’ve also jumped on board thesmartfi’s plank challenge for February, and the boy got into it too. So we help keep each other accountable to plank at least 1 minute every day. We’ve also been really loving the nicer weather and going for walks nearly every day.

I want to start a 30 day yoga challenge again too… but I just cannot wake up earlier than I already am, and there isn’t much space in my morning routine. I could do it after work, but I’ve been really really bad about just plopping down with a book or Netflix after dinner. So I need to re-do my evening routine somehow.

B

Make someone smile every day

Maybe I should actually track this somehow, but I am certain that I make at least my husband or myself smile every day. I also try to give genuine compliments at work, and to random strangers at the grocery store, gas station, etc.

A

 

Overall Goals: B+ so far!

 

Weekly Eating – 1/28/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

The weekend was very relaxing. Saturday we took a reeeally long, like almost 3 hour walk to a park, then found a new way home. Turns out there’s actually a paved walking trail through some woods for part of the way.

On Sunday we went out to lunch with some friends to one of my favorite spots. We thought it was still Restaurant Week… but sadly that ended Saturday. We made the best of it and had a delicious brunch though.

Oh, and also I cut off a donated 12 inches of hair! 😲 Yes, you read that right, a full foot. I’ve been wanting to for years, and finally just said enough is enough. I sent it to Hair We Share, to give a free wig to a child who lost their hair due to chemo or other medical issues. Its been quite and adjustment so far, but I’m getting used to it.

one foot less hair

Monday:

Breakfast – scrambled quail egg breakfast burritos with mixed potatoes, vegan cheese, and hummus

potato and quail egg burrito

Lunch – Carrot dogs! A fun thing I’ve noticed on vegan blogs, where you marinate cooked carrots to taste like hot dogs. So I gave it a try, and they are actually quite delicious

vegan carrot dog

Dinner – Rice bowl loaded with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, sweet potato, carrot, some shredded chicken breast & hummus

veg and bean and hummus rice bowl

Tuesday:

Breakfast –smoothie

Lunch – leftover white bean soup & a big salad

salad and white bean soup

Snack – nuts & berries

Dinner – Butternut squash stuffed with black rice, lentils, carrot & onion. This is something I just kinda threw together with what I had and felt like eating, and bless the boy, he tried it. And actually liked it! Success.

stuffed butternut squash

Wednesday:

Breakfast – smoothie

Snack – green tea & a KIND bar

tea and nut bar

Lunch – out to lunch with a friend! We go out 2-3 times per month and I really love it because we don’t see each other much outside of work. So it is worth the $6-$9 per lunch.

out to lunch

Dinner –family was visiting overnight, so we took them out to Neomonde Durham! I got the half falafel pita platter with grape leaves and quinoa tabbouleh and it was amazing. Their garlic paste is to diiiiiiiiie for! And we ended up with oodles of leftovers.

Neomonde platters

Thursday:

Breakfast – smoothie

Snack – peanut butter

Lunch – leftover Neomonde & a salad

neomonde leftovers

Dinner – roasted veggies with rice & black beans

Snack – zombie corn! This is popcorn with nutritional yeast and chlorella to make it green. Looks crazy, tastes awesome, tons of health benefits.

zombie corn

Friday:

Breakfast – raisin bagel with almond butter and coffee

raisin bagel with almond butter

Lunch – the rest of the leftover roasted veggies with black beans and rice

roasted veg rice bowl

Snack –2 Thin Mint cookies! Just kidding, I ate the whole sleeve

two thin mint cookies

Dinner – Since Veganuary was over, when the boy said he wanted pepperoni pizza, I said sure why not! So we had frozen pepperoni pizzas haha

The Weekend

Well the food tour on Saturday got cancelled, so the day is mine. And thank goodness because we planned a big, ridiculous, outrageous stockup trip to Costco. Let’s just say some travel hacking is in the works, and to hit the minimum spends, we are front loading our food expenses, along with many other things.

And of course Sunday is the Super Bowl. Not that I care all the much about the game (still don’t know who is playing…) but we got invited over by our neighbors and I’m pretty stoked. It’s taken over 2 years, but we are finally making friends that live by us!

Food Total: Not even telling

The Costco trip… was crazy. Let’s just say we gave our über frugal friend serious heart palpitations!

Speaking of heart palpitations, February is Heart Health month! I’ll just say it again, straight from my Instagram:

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Tracking My Trash Round Two

 

In a previous post I had guest written for Angela’s blog on how I wanted to start moving towards a more zero-waste lifestyle. That basically just means trying to cut back on what I buy, cut down on single use items, especially plastic, and re-use as much as possible.

Then I followed that up with one week of tracking every single piece of trash I ended up generating. It is quite an eye-opening experience, I would highly recommend you try it. It makes you much more aware of tiny things you would just trash without a second thought.

Well, some time has gone by, and Angela and I discussed tracking for a week again, to see how we were doing. We are equally terrible at remembering, so we decided to just start on a Tuesday.

boxed Panera lunch

For the purposes of tracking, I kept a running list in my phone of anything I threw away while at work or outside the house. Luckily I have already implemented a few tips and tricks at work to cut down on waste.

  1. I have a reusable k-cup and a small container of coffee, in case a second cup is required
  2. I have my own reusable coffee mug, water bottle, silverware, oil and vinegar, and salt in my desk
  3. I bring lunch & snacks in reusable containers and take anything compostable home with me
  4. I bring a new dish towel each week that I use at lunch and for drying my hands after using the bathroom
  5. I try to use as little TP as possible now
Trash outside the house:
  • Panera boxed lunch:
    • big paper box
    • plastic salad clamshell
    • tiny plastic dressing cup
    • plastic silverware wrapped in plastic
    • thin napkin
    • plastic paper wrapper on sandwich
    • plastic bag for cookie
  • 2 times forgetting my towel, used paper towels for hand drying
  • 2 tea bags at work

So overall, not a bad week. That one day of Panera just killed me though, and at least 2 dozen people were there with similar amounts of waste each.

Catered lunches are a pit of plastic.

Moral of the story: Bring your lunch!

single use plastic in trash

At home, I tried to keep anything I would normally throw away in a separate bag in the other room. Food containers I rinsed out so I didn’t have troubles. But some things had to just go straight into the trash, like moldy cheese.

Also, the boy lives here too. And he creates some trash, which I did not include because I don’t want to force him onto the blog without permission.  🙂  Only things which I used or emptied or cooked with are included here, because it is a pretty accurate representation of what I would do were I living alone as well.

We have 2 dogs, 11 quail, and no kids, for context.

I have a home-delivery for produce weekly, which re-uses the delivery box and any packaging needed. So if I get a pint container of strawberries, I just send it back empty so they can refill it for next time. Thus, no waste.

But, I do also supplement with things from ALDI, other grocery stores, ethnic markets, Amazon, and my co-op as well.

Trash at home:
  • 2 sliced cheese wrappers, and 4 slices moldy cheese
  • 2 plastic bags from frozen mixed fruits
  • Small black styrofoam box from food tour leftovers
  • Big white styrofoam from leftovers after Friday dinner
  • Top rip off from several cheese, frozen fruit, and tortilla packages
  • Half brick of cream cheese that went moldy, foil wrapper and box
  • 3 q-tips (don’t @ me, I mostly just hate water in my ear)
  • Sticker from 2 bananas and a grapefruit
  • Plastic inner ring from an Almond milk container
  • Empty Almond milk container
  • Giant plastic boxes from mixed salad greens (2)
  • Plastic bag from spinach (2)
  • Plastic lid from a tea box set I got for Christmas
  • Plastic wrapper from 2 boxes of green tea
  • Plastic wrap from a Butcher Box pork roast
  • Plastic wrap from a Butcher Box chicken breast
  • Edamame bag
  • Lemon bag
  • Avocado bag
  • Brussles sprouts bag
  • Plastic window from some mail
  • Plastic wrap from Charmin 
  • Plastic covering from Greek yogurt container
  • Plastic inner bag from “Cracklin Oat Bran”
  • Plastic wrapper from a frozen pizza
  • Plastic ring around new can of raisins
  • 1 stevia packet
  • Tempeh inner and outer wrapping
  • Bag from loaf of seed bread
  • Plastic grocery bag
  • Plastic wrapper from cauliflower
  • Foil top of new coffee can
  • Vitamin water mix packet
  • Mio knockoff bottle
  • Vegan cheese wrapping
  • 2 grocery receipts
  • 1 gas receipt
  • 2 dining out receipts

Yikes.

The thing that stands out to me is that is a really long list!

I thought I did better than this.

And I felt pretty ashamed of how much plastic I’m bringing home from the grocery store.

But then I thought of how much better I’m doing since a few years ago. How the co-op has become part of my life, so I do my best to shop in bulk for things like oats and barley and beans. How I now have a 100% local and package free source of daily eggs.

And all I can do is keep trying to do better.

recycling bin

Luckily, I now live in a place where recycling is an option.

This is the first time, as all my previous apartments and rental houses have not offered this. I could have saved things to take to my grad school campus to recycle but we all know how motivated grad students are when there are a million other things on your mind…

Anywho, the things that got tossed into the recycle bin did not have to go in the trash, and for that I’m thankful. But for those who don’t have the option to recycle, the below list would have been trash too.

Recycle:
  • 1 plastic soy sauce bottle
  • 1 plastic lemon juice bottle
  • 1 coffee tin
  • 1 can pineapples
  • 6 cans beans
  • 1 can beets
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 3 beer bottles
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can coconut water

box full of boxes to burn

Another fun thing about having a house now is that we also have a fire pit in the back yard. We recently took down 6 big trees, so we have tons of wood and sticks. But, we usually need some fast burning items to start it up, or keep it going.

So, we keep a “burn box”.

This is where we put any big or small cardboard boxes, paper towel or TP rolls, envelopes, etc. Anything that will burn, can go into a bonfire rather than a trash can.

But again, not everyone has this option. So these things could have been trash instead.

Burn box:
  • 3 paper covers and rolls from “Who Gives a Crap” tp
  • Box from “Cracklin Oat Bran”
  • 1 paper towel tube
  • 1 empty box tissues
  • Cardboard bottom from a tea box gift set
  • Empty frozen pizza box
  • Dentastix box
  • Blue Moon beer box
  • 2 boxes from pasta
  • Box from cake mix
  • Box from granola bars
  • Bagged green tea box
  • Amazon delivery box
  • Tissue paper from a swap (quail eggs in exchange for 2 cute crystal serving trays and a neat ceramic soup tureen)
tea set
The tea box gift set. At least I can re-use the tins for loose leaf tea later!

And finally, my favorite way of keeping things out of the trash, is composting.

When we lived in a rental and I didn’t know if we would stay long enough for a pile to make sense, I had a big Rubbermaid container full of worms in the yard and did vermicomposting.

Now, I have enough space for a permanent pile.

We toss our kitchen goodies in there, and combined with the fall leaves and mulch, and sawdust shavings and quail manure, we make our own supercharged garden fertilizer. And keep literal tons of organic matter out of land fills.

compost

Compost:
  • Banana peels
  • 2 pear pits
  • 5 clementine peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Old hard bread
  • Persimmon peel
  • Centers of broccoli and cauliflower
  • Zucchini and carrot ends
  • 2 paper tissues
  • 4 tea bags
  • 2 lemons
  • Loose leaf green and hibiscus tea
  • Ends of sweet potatoes
  • Onion ends and peel

Tracking My Trash: Round 2

Woof.

There you have it, in startling technicolor, all the trash created by an actually-quite-eco-conscious person trying not to make trash.

What a world we live in.

 

Any suggestions guys? How do I do better?

Weekly Eating – 1/21/19

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

The weekend was great, I led a really fun Durham food tour on Saturday. 4 of the visitors were a young man touring colleges and his family, and the others were 2 couples visiting as well (a mom and daughter, and old friends) so none had ever been to Durham before. I entertained them all night with stories and things I’ve learned.

table covered in food at Neomonde Durham

We got a crazy huge spread at Neomonde. I cannot say enough nice things about them! Their food is amazing and super fresh and tasty, it is Mediterranean/Lebanese. Best hummus I’ve had in a long time.

the Little Dipper Durham salted caramel chocolate

And I looooove that we end the tours with the chocolate dippers at The Little Dipper now. I just love their staff and atmosphere, as well as the food of course! We had the Fluffer Nutter (chocolate, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff) and the Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel. Mmmmm… they even gave me a to-go cup of the leftover chocolate! I had joked about it with my group, but they insisted…

carton full of quail and chicken eggs

And I am just so so thankful to finally have farm friends! To be able to visit the chickens and guinea hens, and have my own quail… the magic has definitely not faded, not yet! Every time I go out to the coop and find an egg, it is a tiny miracle.

Monday:

Breakfast – this was a holiday, so we slept in! Black coffee

Lunch – I had some small corn tortillas that needed using, so I brushed them with lime and toasted them in the oven, then loaded them up with refried pinto beans, salsa, red sauerkraut, and avocado for some tasty tostadas

tostadas

Dinner – Refrigerator soup! Basically bits of whatever veggies are about to go south, some beans, dried mushrooms, and veggie broth. With the rest of the toasted corn tortillas crushed on top.

refrigerator soup

Snack – We had a really awesome mixed berry ‘soup’ haha and a cup of turmeric golden milk for a nightcap

bowl of mixed berry nice cream

Tuesday:

Breakfast – pear and raisin oatmeal with flaxseed

pear and raisin oatmeal

Lunch – I forgot I’d ordered a lunch that got cancelled and rescheduled a while ago… so we had Panera today. Conveniently the same day Angela decided we would start tracking trash again… 🙈

boxed Panera lunch

Snack – local greenhouse strawberries and orange slices

strawberries and oranges

Dinner – mango tempeh and roasted veggies with black rice, and a garlic tahini hot sauce

mango tempeh and roasted veggies

Wednesday:

Breakfast – pear and raisin oatmeal with flaxseed (hey, I had 2 pears)

pear and raisin oatmeal

Lunch –mango tempeh and roasted veggies with black rice

mango tempeh and roasted veggies

Snack – local greenhouse strawberries and orange slices

strawberries and oranges

Dinner – giant salad of mixed greens & arugula, with seasame seeds, dried apricot, and walnuts. Dressing of tahini, lemon juice, garlic.

big salad

Snack – mixed berry smoothie with flaxseed and amla and spinach. I found it amusing, the size difference of our cup and spoon.

blender and coffee cup of smoothie

Thursday:

Breakfast – cinnamon raisin bagel with almond butter

bagel with almond butter

Lunch – I had some black beans left from the weekend batch cook, so I just added some dried onion, cumin, lime juice and salsa and used my immersion blender to make it a soup. Plus a big salad.

salad and black bean soup

Snack – faux Oreo cookies

Dinner –Instant pot baked potatoes smothered in vegan chili with vegan cheddar and fresh guac

chili baked potato

Friday:

Breakfast – big rainbow smoothie: canned beets, my last persimmon, spinach, frozen pineapple, a fresh banana, frozen mixed berries, flax seed, amla powder, coconut water

big rainbow smoothie

Lunch – the rest of the leftover mango tempeh with roasted veg

Snack – homemade garlic hummus and cucumber slices

hummus and cucumbers

Dinner – Went out with a friend for dinner on Friday for some awesome girl talk and Mexican food. This local place called Toreros has really good food and decent margaritas. I got a vegetarian burrito that was so enormous, I literally just started laughing when she put it on the table.

huge vegetarian burrito

The Weekend

This weekend we have no set plans really. Just relaxing at home and taking it easy. Doing some cooking projects, and maybe going out for the end of Triangle restaurant week.

Food Total: $164.99

Oof. Y’all.

I have totaled up January food spending, and it is not pretty.

We need to reign it in. Maybe I will ban myself from grocery shopping for a few months.

Dairy $6.48 Staples $69.77 Fruit/Veg $57.68
greek yogurt 3.99 diced tomatoes 12 6 frozen fruits 3lb x5 39.95
almond milk 2.49 canned beans 4 + 2 6pk 8.38 brussels sprouts 2.5
can pineapple 2.38 bananas 0.99
progresso 0.97 kiwi 6 1
spinach bags 2 5.98
frozen pizza 9.49 avocados 1.79
salad mixes 2 3.98
lemons 1.49

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

One Small Thing – Toilet Paper

 

In this series, I am highlighting one small thing that you can do in your day to day life to decrease your waste. Just one or two small changes can add up to a massive reduction in single use plastics and the overall burden on our planet’s resources.

Don’t forget to read back through why you should consider cloth napkins, cloth handkerchiefs, anything other than plastic water bottles, bringing your own coffee mug, alternatives to coffee filters, and not using plastic straws.

Today’s topic is pretty crappy*.

*TMI warning: this post is about toilet paper! If you are squeamish about bathroom facts and humor, now is your moment to click the little ‘x’ in the top right corner.

Who Gives a Crap Toilet Paper

Let me hit you with some facts.

“On average, Americans use about 50 lbs annually or 57 squares of toilet tissue every day. The average consumption of toilet paper across the global [sic] stands at about 20,000 sheets or 100 rolls every yearToilet paper production per day stands at about 84 million rolls. ” (source)

That’s a CRAP-TON of T.P.†!

All puns here will be fully intended.

Which is pretty mind-blowing, considering we didn’t even really start using it until the 1990s. Really.

Toilet paper is divided many different ways, but in general there are three categories: low-grade, mid-grade, and premium.

It seems at our own homes, cheaper is fine, but when we are at a house that’s not our own, we prefer “brand names” we trust (source)

Though overall, the “luxury” toilet paper category is making great strides. It is even becoming a bit of a barometer for how confident in the economy we are, since it is still “affordable” but seen as a “splurge”.

Is luxury toilet paper the new lipstick?

However, there’s a dark side to this lotion-covered, honey-scented, cloud-like goodness. One of my favorite no-nonsense teams, Bitches Get Riches, breaks it down for you, on why you should not fall prey to marketing ads for “pillowy softness” and “aloe coated” bull… poo.

budgetepicurean one small thing toilet paper

So, you realize this is a problem and a massive waste of resources.

But, when you gotta go you gotta go.

How do you answer nature’s call, while still ensuring there will be more nature in the future?

Better Paper = same use, but better source

There are many companies already out there that are trying to create a better paper. The paths are varied but the destination is the same: A more sustainable toilet paper.

Non-Tree TP

There are many products on the market, and I’m sure more on the way, that are proudly creating paper from things other than trees. Trees take a long time to grow big and strong enough for harvest, hence the issue with cutting them down daily by the millions.

But you know what grows really fast?

Bamboo.

And you know what we have plenty of, but it is considered (for now) a waste product?

Sugar cane.

Sugar cane is used to make sugar (duh) but once the edible part is extracted, the fibrous stuff gets tossed. It is not even composted, meaning it also contributes to the greenhouse gas from fermentation in landfills issue.

But by recycling the castoff fibers into toilet paper, we get a win-win! More circular economy by using the whole plant, and no more problematic downstream effects from the organic waste.

Companies like Public Goods and Hello Tushy sell this TP type.

TP That Gives Back

Toilet paper companies are also realizing that their customers are starting to ask questions, and to give a crap.

Case in point: “Who Gives a Crap” toilet paper. I’ll let them speak for themselves:

“We’re determined to prove that toilet paper is about more than just wiping bums. We make all of our products with environmentally friendly materials, and we donate 50% of our profits to help build toilets for those in need. To date we’ve donated over $1.8m Aussie dollars (that’s the equivalent of over $1,300,000!) to charity and saved a heck of a lot of trees, water and energy. Not bad for a toilet paper company, eh?.”

https://us.whogivesacrap.org/pages/about-us

Who Gives a Crap TP Roll

Recycled Paper TP

TP made from recycled paper is at least not using new resources, and is creating a market for paper to be recycled. It is rare that a company or person will do something that takes extra effort (recycling) and even moreso if there is no other profit or product to be made.

https://www.papernet.com/americas/usa/en/virgin-vs-recycled-paperq

There’s a bit of an issue here with recycled TP though: it may (actually probably does) contain BPA. BPA = bis-phenol A, this is a known endocrine disruptor found in thermal printed things like receipts and lotto tickets.

When these things are recycled in with other types of paper, the bulk paper pulp becomes contaminated.

This chemical can be easily absorbed through the skin. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wipe that across my sensitive bits daily.

Bidet = Less Paper (possibly none)

Also recommended by eco-home-inspectors, a bidet is widely used in basically all the rest of the world except for the USA.

Perhaps it is just our in-born spoiled-ness, or our extreme germaphobia, but most Americans find bidets confusing, if not downright disgusting.

Happily, that seems to be changing, as public opinions of bidets warm, and the ease of use, cleanliness, and price point options continue to expand.

budgetepicurean one small thing toilet paper

Hardcore: Reusable cloth wipes + bidet = 0 paper!

By cutting down on toilet paper usage, you are saving trees from being harvested, preventing the whole chemical process of bleaching toilet paper, and keeping literal tons of waste out of landfills every year.

Especially if you have cloth diapered, this is probably no big deal to you. Or if you are already on the cloth period products bandwagon.

These make the most sense to me for wiping after peeing for ladies, and in combo with a bidet for drying yourself.

There are of course many drawbacks to this practice.

You should probably keep at least a few rolls of TP around for guests, unless everyone who ever comes to your house has the same eco values as yourself.

You should also have a sealable container to store them in between using and washing.

And given the stories of those who have tried it, the only thing I would say is make sure you do laundry, often!

 

 

What do you think, too much? Do you already use any or all of these alternatives? Would you try one?