Monday, March 20, 2006

Food . . . yes, must make some . . .

A zillion years ago, when I was a broke graduate student, I brought my lunch to campus nearly every day. I had a teeny refrigerator--it was one of those under-the-sink kinds--and a miniscule freezer, so I have no clue what I did when I made things in bulk, but I know I did that. When I was unemployed, well, I've blocked out as much of that year as I can (denial is not ALWAYS a bad thing), but I had a full-size refrigerator and freezer, so my guess is that I continued to make batches of things and freeze portions. When I finally got a job, I also brought my lunch most days. All along, I'd occasionally treat myself, of course, but bringing my lunch was so much cheaper than buying my lunch that I couldn't really justify it. When I got the biotech job, I still brought my lunch often enough, but I started getting lazier, not least because there were a couple of places nearby that had pretty cheap lunches (tasty soup plus a hunk of good bread for about $3.25, for example), but also because I could afford it, as could the coworkers with whom I ate. About a year ago, though, you may remember that Craw and I started committing to bringing our lunches to work again--not every single day, because a little treat once in awhile is a good thing, in my case, and, in his case, because he had lunch with coworkers whom he liked a lot, and they usually went out. School made it easier, not least because there was so much stuff to take with me, I wasn't in danger of going hungry even if I didn't get around to making my lunch. The same is sort of true for work now, but I still would like to have something some days.

So what's on today's menu, you ask? Well, I bought some cracked wheat a couple of weeks ago and haven't done anything with it, so today I got some kale and some spinach and I'm going to do a greens-and-cracked wheat thing. No idea how well it'll freeze, so I might just not freeze that one. Second, in part because I love barley, I'm going to make another batch of the golden-split-pea-and-barley stew, except use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, because I like the former better. Finally, I'm going to make some black-bean-and-sweet-potato burrito filling, which can be eaten in tortillas or over rice, and we certainly have enough kinds of rice sitting around the apartment. All of the recipes are from the Moosewood Low-Fat Cookbook, which is a completely awesome cookbook; I have made so much stuff from it, and nearly everything has been good, and several things have been great. (Two of the three recipes I just mentioned I've made multiple times before.)

Because we're about 95% positive we're moving (into what arrangement remains to be seen), we're trying to use up things (like the aforementioned rice) and we're trying not to stock up on things that are a pain to move, but the pasta we eat was on sale at Whole Paycheck today, as it was last time we were there, so we . . . stocked up. On the other hand, both the Kid and I love us some pasta, so we'll eat a bunch before the end of July (when the lease is up), and it's not as bad to move as, say, canned beans or canned tomatoes, up on which we've been known to stock before. I know that it's way too early to be thinking about these things, sort of, but I've moved way too many times before. On one hand, you don't want to move 40 cans of tomatoes if you don't have to do that--or, worse yet, something that doesn't pack or stack as easily as canned tomatoes do, like frozen foods--but, on the other hand, you want to have food around, else you're more tempted to go out, which completely defeats the purpose of saving money.

As you can tell, I'm procrastinating like nobody's business right now, but, hey, it's my other day off. I spent yesterday afternoon going over the budget, and that kind of sucked. I hate being this close to the edge--we're probably fine, but we can't be spendthrifts. What I hate more is not knowing where I am, though; it's much less painful for me to sit down and wrestle with the numbers repeatedly, or weekly, or whatever, than it is to stick my fingers in my ears and close my eyes and hope/pretend that everything will be fine. We'll know more once Craw starts getting paid from the new company (who is paying him every other week rather than twice a month, for I have no clue what reason); I've been deliberately conservative in my estimates. There are a few things that have to be settled--make sure that the health insurance payments stop coming out of his severance and start coming out of his new paychecks, with neither a gap nor an overlap; make sure the child support payments get transferred with neither a gap nor an overlap; get reimbursed, by both the old and new companies, for travel expenses--and the old company isn't known for taking care of business in any kind of responsible way. To put it mildly.

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