New-in-Review

I love a good list, I love a good fresh start and I love a good Meghan

Week-In-Review-Button-Final

You know what that means–It’s time for a Week in Review. This week? Focusing on NEW!

New: Employment situation.

I revealed on Friday that I quit my job. I couldn’t be happier. Or more broke. Okay, I could be more broke. I have a few freelance writing gigs and good savings, but life is going to be pretty bare-bones money-wise for a bit. Thank goodness laying in the sun with a good book is free.

New: Roommate.

A room-man moved in on Tuesday to help foot the bills for my summer of not-exactly-working. Nothing like inviting a strange dude you met on Craigslist to move into your house!

New: Technology.

Wednesday found me with a more-snazzy computer and a less-snazzy phone. Turns out work owned both of those items, and they were forfeited on Friday. While I love my new laptop, I won’t hesitate to say that the cheapest Windows phone on the market is just a few steps down from my prior iPhone ownership. However it is also $500 steps down–which turned out to be the most important factor.

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Yes, I will probably leave the stickers on both items for the next month. That’s just how I roll.

New: Budget.

Related to all of the above, of course, comes a fresh new budget for a fresh new month. Expect lots of posts on stingy living and frugal finds. I’m not too classy to talk about the nitty-gritty dollar details.

New: Definitions.

I plan on spending the summer discovering what I like and who I am. Okay, that sounds like a cheesy self-help book, but I have been out of touch and out of whack for a long, long time. I’m going to start listening to my self and my body–while I figure out what I like to do, what I want to do, what makes me happy and what makes me feel good.

What’s new for you?

(Fresh) Clean Slate

As of today, I am officially unemployed.

And it feels so good.

This wasn’t what I meant when I made this month’s goal to make things fresh and new.

But I am more than okay with it.

What am I doing after this? I have no idea.

But I’ll figure it out.

There’s a job out there that matches my passions and personality.

And until I find it? I get a summer break.

Hello sun, goodbye desk-bound unhappiness.

Fridge-in-Review

Although I spent a weekend (and the greater portion of last week) taking no pictures, I couldn’t miss my girl Meg’s linkup two weeks in a row.

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And since my fridge does tell the story of my life, here’s my week in review, via my fridge in review.

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A. Tuesday. What would my life be if I didn’t stock up on cheap old groceries? And then go out for Thai food despite just having gone grocery shopping.

B. Wednesday. I made almond milk (and by-product almond meal)! With nothing more than a Magic Bullet and old t-shirt. (Well, and almonds.) This is actually round 2, since my first attempt disappeared into err, just a few iced coffees, while the meal went into last week’s baking adventures.

C. Thursday. Leftover limes from having Heather and the man-friend over for tacos. A get-together they reciprocated by inviting me to a BBQ party to end all BBQ parties on Saturday (details of the marvelousness on Heather’s blog today).

D. Friday. Picked up my chicken CSA. Slow-cooked that sucker to perfection with onions and fresh thyme and rosemary from my herb garden. What do you do with your Friday nights?

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A1, 2 and 3: Saturday. Jetted off to the farmer’s market before watching my dad and his softball team play in the Senior Olympics. Despite the fact that I bought eggs earlier in the week, I couldn’t resist farm-fresh (A1). And despite my best intentions to not not not buy vegetables (since my garden is producing out of control), I still ended up with beets (A2) which I roasted up in foil. I did get the one item I actually meant to buy–more local pimiento goat cheese (A3).

B: Sunday. I emptied the garden. Cucumbers went into a big bowl with vinegar and onion for fresh pickles. Zucchinis were eaten. Okra was eaten. And I spent all day harvesting, cleaning, steaming and freezing mustard greens after finally admitting I can’t keep up with eating them fresh.

So there you have it! My somewhat empty fridge. There is also a shelf of condiments, but all that says about me is: I really like ketchup. And y’all already knew that one…

What does your fridge say about you? What did you get into this weekend?

(Fresh)ly Baked

A statement I often make is that I don’t bake. This may be because I have no patience, never have the ingredients on hand and have a penchant for setting dishtowels (or myself) on fire whenever I put carbs in the oven (why can I cook everything else in there??), but as I proved last week, I like to break my own rules.

My first project turned the remnants from almond-milk-making adventures into almond-maple crispy-cookies. I’m a chewy cookie gal, but I’ll still rank these as “pretty darn good.”

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I’ve also been celebrating weekend mornings with excuses for more maple syrup oatmeal scones on the patio (with a good book and hot cup of black coffee). Good to the last bite.

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And not only have I been baking–I got out a real camera. Despite my dislike of my camera (and the fact that I accidentally put my foot in half my photos and had to toss them due to the lack of appetizing-ness of feet), I think I got a pretty snazzy shot (for me) of the simple muffins I whipped up for me and my dad on Father’s Day.

Simply Good Stuff Banana Muffins

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/2t cinnamon
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2t vanilla
  • Add-ins of choice: I used almonds and dried cranberries. Because I had almonds and dried cranberries.

Mix your dry ingredients, mix your wet ingredients, add your wet to your dry. Pour into a lightly oiled muffin tin. Pop in a 375 degree oven for 18 minutes. Don’t set anything on fire.

This recipe makes 9-10 dense-yet-fluffy and moist-yet-textured muffins that are perfect for breakfast or portable snackage.

Do you bake? What’s your favorite (baked good) recipe?

Featured (Fresh) Food: Mustard Greens

While most of my garden is waiting to hit its stride, one thing is growing, and growing strong. Mustard greens. Prompting this week’s featured food to be, well, a given. And yes, thanks for noticing, I ate mustard greens for four meals in one day. And have eaten them at least twice a day for almost a week now. Moderation and gardens do not mix.

Breakfast 

Ingredients: Mustard greens, banana, faux-milk and hemp seeds.

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Result: A pre-workout breakfast drink–sweet yet earthy, with a kick of peppery spice.

Snack

Ingredients: Two eggs, mustard greens, baking powder, spices.

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Result: Eggy muffin cups for on-the-go snackage.

Lunch

Ingredients: Mustard greens, parsley, mint, quinoa, onion, lemon juice. Tilapia.

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Result: Quinoa tabbouleh on garden lettuce. Yes, I put my salad on a salad. With Moroccan-spiced tilapia.

Snack

Ingredients: Almonds and frozen cranberries.

Result: Okay, fine, there were no mustard greens in this one.

Dinner

Ingredients: Mustard greens, banana peppers, cilantro, garlic, rice vinegar and tempeh.

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Result: Tempeh stir-fry!

And there are still enough greens left to feed a (health-conscious) army. Time to start freezing the extras.

Any ideas for how I can use more mustard greens?

Fresh Attitude, Week Three: Fresh-Laid Plans

Schedule change-up! Didn’t feel like posting yesterday. So guess what? I didn’t. I was going to get my Week-in-Review on, but my weekend recap just wasn’t flowing. Unlike some other things in my life. See, I’ve been changing more than my blogging schedule. I’m working on shaking up my old routine and rerouting a few not-that-great habits, and in the process? I’m finding more time while rushing less, although I’m not quite sure how that’s working. I believe we can examine this phenomenon further with a fresh day-in-the-life!

Wake up at 4:30am.

This used to be 4am. See? Now it’s a reasonable hour.

Roll onto the floor, do some yoga (aka 10-ish minutes of stretching). 

This used to be “stumble into the kitchen, fumble for coffee.”

Make some smooce (I’m not really sure if this counts as a smoothie or as juice).

This used to be “make and scarf a big breakfast.”

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Finish my  smooce while free-writing in my journal.

This used to be “frantically tidy and pack for the day.”

Hit the patio at 6am. Sip coffee, read and/or watch the garden grow.

This used to be “hit the gym at 5am. Come home, frantically get showered, dressed and out the door.”

Start work at 7am. Eat second breakfast. Stare at a computer screen.

This hasn’t changed.

Hit the gym at 11am.

This used to be “take a quick 15 minute walk or just skip lunch break altogether.”

Work 2pm to 6pm. Stare at a computer screen.

This used to be “work 11:15am to 4pm. Stare at a computer screen.”

Go for a walk while waiting for for traffic to subside.

This used to be “angrily sit in traffic. Angrily get home.”

Get home and leisurely make dinner.

This used to be “pull something out of the freezer.”

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Tidy the house, relax, spend time with friends.

This used to be “unproductively kill time until friends get out of work.”

Hit the hay.

Nope, hasn’t changed much. I still tend to sleep on a regular nightly basis. (Now think of all I could get done if I could just change that requirement.)

So how have I found more hours without actually finding more hours? I just…slowed down. It seems counter-intuitive, and yet it feels so wonderful. Everything is still getting done. With a heck of a lot less internal pressure. Yes, I still have my frantic days, my days filled with “shoulds” and the days when my schedule just won’t cooperate, but then I simply remember my favorite things try to remember to just take it easy. Life’s meant to be enjoyed, not rushed through.

Are there enough hours in your day? How do you remind yourself to slow down?

Fresh Attitude: Week Two

To continue my goal for the month of making things fresh, I’ve rethought (and/or re-established) a few of my “never agains.”

Never Will I Ever…do yoga.

Except that (second) time I signed up for a hot yoga class. On a 97 degree day.

This was a…unique…experience. Guided by an instructor whose true calling was that of auctioneer. I’ve never had so much yoga yelled at me so fast in so much heat. Maybe I’ll try again next winter.

Never Will I Ever…drink kombucha.

Except yesterday morning when I talked myself into giving it one more shot at Whole Foods.

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Nope. It still tastes like overpriced ass.

Never Will I Ever…run.

Except three days in the past week when I’ve jogged.

And by “jogged” I mean “walked with interspersed shuffling.”

Never Will I Ever…sweat.

Except during hot yoga and hotter runs.

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I take it for granted that I am not a sweaty person. But then straight wetness from the sports bra down.

Never Will I Ever…eat scallops.

Except when I’m at a fancy restaurant and decide to finally try getting past my childhood hatred/utter loathing of them.

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Despite battling un-fond memories…these were damn good. Crusty walnuts, blue cheese and strawberry-mango salsa helped.

Never Will I Ever…drink my breakfast.

Except the past two mornings when I’ve whipped up a green-banana-smoothie.

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Still not a lasting source of satisfaction, but it’s worked as some pre-workout fuel (when I know I can come home and scarf real food soon).

Hits and misses, but shrugging off a few more self-imposed rules to give things a second (or third or fourth) chance? It’s been a good week.

What’s an exception to one of your “rules?”

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