Monday, August 23, 2010

September Eat-In Challenge

As I was balancing my checkbook a few weeks ago, it became painfully clear that I spend way too much money going out to eat.  It's expensive and unhealthy, but I do it all the time.  Giving it some thought, I realize that the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is cook.  I also *hate* cooking for one person--it's just no fun.  I love cooking for family and friends, but I rarely do.  Eating out is also fun--there's the whole social aspect of going out for drinks with friends after a long day, or after a function at church.  It's a great way to catch up with friends I haven't seen in awhile, and what better way to reconnect than by breaking bread?  However, this past weekend a friend and I went to Ruby Tuesday for lunch, and we were both surprised at the calorie listings on the menu.  Although I opted for a "lower" calorie option (660 calories, not including the cheesy biscuits they gave us to start), I later discovered it had well over 20 grams of fat...and let's not even go into the sodium content!

As convenient and fun as eating out may be, it's eating up money I could be saving, or putting towards more productive things.  Rather than deflate my checking account only to inflate my waistline, I've decided to eat in the entire month of September.  With very limited exceptions, this means that I will not eat food at any restaurant, the cafeteria at work, vending machines, cafes, etc.  The exceptions will be going out for an occasional coffee with friends, two birthday celebrations, and dinner one night at my favorite monastery.  The bulk of the month, however, I plan to invite a few friends over for dinner and try some recipes that I've been wanting to make.  I enjoy watching the various cooking shows on PBS, and this is a great opportunity to try some of Sara Moulton's "Weeknight Meals," and some recipes from "America's Test Kitchen".  My September blog won't be anything like "Julie & Julia," but I hope to expand my usual grocery list and try new things, and eat in with some great company.  If you have a delicious recipe you'd like to share, please feel free to put it in the comment section!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vacation 2010

After a month away from the blogosphere, I'm back! Most of July was spent back home in Michigan--two and a half weeks with a variety of family and friends, all over the Mitten! Much of my vacation was spent in the Lansing area with my parents, two sisters, 8 month old niece and 3 year old nephew. We played, danced, sang, read, celebrated Mom and Grandma W.'s birthday, travelled Up North, shopped, ate plenty of delicious food, saw the sights, had fun in two of the Great Lakes, and took naps. When I wasn't doing all of that with them, I was off to Grand Rapids to visit with two of my professors (Guten Tag, Seegers!), and a bunch of friends from my college years. It was a great time visiting our old haunts, discovering new places, and it was especially fun spending an afternoon at Lake Michigan with one of my closest friends on her birthday. I had a fantastic time seeing everyone and travelling the state, but when I returned to DC I took two days off to recuperate--a short vacation from my vacation!

Shortly after I came back to DC, my youngest sister came for a visit.  Since we had only seen each other a few days prior, it really felt like an extension of my vacation.  We went to Eastern Market, the Basilica, and went to see the movie "Inception" (which, btw, is really amazing--a visual marvel with an intricate storyline, I highly recommend it!).  When we weren't out, we continued our tradition of watching DVDs of "Will & Grace", and just enjoying each other's company.  Lil Sis left a week ago and I've been missing her ever since.  However, in the midst of two very busy weeks at work, I'm looking forward to returning to Michigan in a little over a week to say farewell to one of my cousins who is being deployed to the Middle East.  Not a fun reason to go home, but I am looking forward to seeing my family again...and so soon! 

That's all for today--hope to post a few pictures once I figure out how to do it properly.  Hope you are having a peaceful week!