Friday, July 24, 2015


Have I mentioned yet that I found a quote on mortgagethreeinfree recently that really resonated with me?

Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most

I started reading MFin3 last year and for some reason I never added it to my list of links and then forgot about it. I revisited in the run-up to christmas and got a great recipe for advocat cake, which became the most popular thing I baked all winter. And it had been on my mind to go back and have a look again for a while. So, for the past week or two I've been making my way through the archives and getting lots of inspiration. And a tutorial for making a thermal cooking bag, which I can't wait to try and make.

But that quote, which I printed out and have sitting propped up against the wall in my sitting room, is ringing in my head every day. No more excuses, if I want to take a month off in November I need to start saving big time. I don't have enough time to do anything other than scrape every cent together that I can. And if I want to lose weight, then eating large packets of crisps every day won't get it done. If I don't want to have to face piles and piles of washing up at the weekend then ignoring the couple of things that need to be washed every day will not help.

Last week, on Friday no less, I had my first proper fast day. The 5:2 fast diet did work really well for me when I started it way back in summer 2013 and although life got derailed a couple of months later, I've only ever half-heartedly gotten back to it. But that won't get it done. So, Wednesday was my second and so far it's going well. Didn't do one today for a couple of different reasons but I think I'll go back to my old pattern of Sundays and Wednesdays being my fast days.

This week, despite being very tired, work being pretty crap and feeling in general kind of overwhelmed, I have been managing to spend very little money and cook proper meals, using up all of the veg that has been sitting around for a couple of weeks. Or months, in the case of these sweet potatoes.
Terrible photo, I know but it looks lovely in real life, I promise
So I've been getting home from work so wrecked I don't want to do anything. It's a constant battle in my head on the way home to not stop in the supermarket to buy something frozen to throw into the oven or at a fast food place to buy chips or a kebab. And it has been warm. Not terribly, usually around the mid-20s but really, really humid and stuffy all that time. I have been making it home without giving in every day though and then I've just been collapsing on the couch. After half-an-hour or an hour, by which time it has started to cool down, I've gotten up and headed into the kitchen.

On Tuesday I used up baguette from the freezer, half a jar of my own passata from last year, a grated courgette, the last of some grated cheese and a couple of slices that were in the fridge begging to be used up as well as the other half of the very big tomato that I'd gotten to have with my salad at lunch time. Delicious French bread pizzas - more nutritious, tastier and more filling than the frozen version. While they were cooking I sliced the remainder of the courgettes and sauteed them (buying me a couple more days time to do actually use them up) and got the washing-up done.

On Wednesday morning I managed to be slightly organised in the morning and had time to mix up some quark with some tuna and a "lemon curry dip" spice I have. Half of that into a Tupperware container along with a couple of sliced up scallions became lunch when it was added to the last of my lettuce and a wrap. In the evening, I just went into the kitchen to get the washing up done and then since I was there I decided to cook the cabbage I'd meant to do at the weekend anyway. That cabbage is one I got two weeks ago and I did not want any more veg going to waste. And so, although I wasn't going to, at half-ten at night, cook the full meal as planned (red split lentils with cabbage from Smitten Kitchen), I thought at least I could get a headstart and make the cabbage part of it. Oh my is all I can say. I used four times as much cabbage as given, added bacon bits, increased the spices, used dried chilies instead of fresh and ended up cooking it for longer than the recipe says (because I was doing the washing up. Yay me!). But it seems to be a forgiving recipe and was absolutely spectacular, if I do say so myself. I wasn't even going to eat any, being on a fast day and not actually particularly hungry but it smelled so good I couldn't resist a small plateful. The rest went into the fridge in Tupperware to wait for me to do the lentils.

On Thursday then I took the rest of the quark and tuna mix to work for lunch, buying a couple of bread rolls on the way to work to have with it. And when I got into the kitchen on Thursday evening, I ended up just heating up the rest of the cabbage and eating the whole lot of it. Okay, I was very full (had some garlic bread with it) but if you had told me a few years ago I'd happily sit down to a very large plate of cabbage and not much else, I'd have called you mad. While that was cooking I threw together a quick pastryless quiche, using up the courgettes, the rest of the sliced cheese, some more of the bacon bits and the remaining eggs along with a good sprinkling of herbs. Half of that became my lunch today and I'll have the rest tomorrow. And I even got the washing-up done before sitting down to eat.
Pastryless quiche. Still not quite sure why I don't just call it baked omelette. 
So, now I have some chard and some bread beans in the fridge (they've been there since last Thursday and I haven't checked to see if they're actually surviving) and I have some carrots and celery as well. Then there's the remaining quarter packet of bacon bits, the rest of the jar of passata and another container which has the other half of the quark, which I mixed up with an Italian herb mix. This evening, although I did end up eating the frozen pizza baguettes I had in the freezer (really, not a patch on the homemade ones from earlier in the week), I used the time they were in the oven to do the washing up. And then decided that since I had the oven on, I really should cook those sweet potatoes. So I peeled and chopped them, added a glug of oil and then mixed cumin and salt (a la the Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty that I have made several times in the last couple of years) with the addition of a little bit of coriander, cayenne and cinnamon. Then into the oven with them. That'll be a quick and easy lunch tomorrow then.

In the same way that Mr. Money Mustache talks about exercising your frugality muscle, I'm slowly trying to build up my disciple muscle again. It's all just the normal stuff that millions of people do all the time all over the world but to be honest it has taken every bit of energy I've had spare this week. This week it seems like taking a break and sitting (or lying) quietly for a while after getting home has been the key to getting the food side of things sorted. We'll see how next week turns out.


Maria said...

I'm so impressed and frankly, exhausted by you! I could NEVER spend that much time or discipline. I am not a patient cook. I like fast and easy my wife or daughter does the cooking. If left on my own, I would live on chicken pot pies.

Moonwaves said...

It's not really that much effort, which is what's getting to me. It's the energy I need to drum up the discipline to just get up and do it that's draining. But, yeah, if I had someone around to do the cooking, I can imagine letting them do it on a very regular basis. :)

Rainbowchild said...

I like the quote about discipline and have written it in the front of my diary. I need the reminder of it. Well done on being so organised :)