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!

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