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Well, we made it a week into our financial fast before calling Uncle.
Saturday, I had planned to use the last two pieces of frozen salmon along with the last of the salsa, some rice, and some corn that was on its way to the dark side to make a perennial favorite--spicy salmon with fiesta rice. But along about 5:30 in the afternoon, after the little one had refused to take a nap and I felt sure the argument over bedtime would not go our way (it's amazing how he's able to win those arguments considering he can only say "Yeah," "No," "Mama," and "Daddy"), I could not see myself getting into the cooking spirit.
"Want to order a pizza?" I asked J.
But my man is resolute. "I'll put the rice in the cooker," he replied. "It won't take that long."
Unfortunately, J's admirable resolve faltered and fell after we spent nearly two hours baby wrangling. Ultimately, we won and the child slept the sweet and untroubled slumber of someone who gets to decide when wakeup time is. But by that point, neither of us felt like cooking.
So, we ordered some cheap pizza, and J made the better decision of going to pick it up rather than spending an additional $3 on delivery fee and tip. We spent our fun money on the pizza, which I can't decide if it means that we cheated the system or that we simply transferred our spending from one fund to another.
To make it up, I spent Sunday in the kitchen. I made the belated spicy salmon dinner. I baked two loaves of bread. I baked a batch of cookies. I made some granola, that unfortunately ended up a mite too crispy. (I tried to eat it for breakfast this morning, and it was definitely not okay with a little milk on top). I found a couple of pre-made pie crusts that I had forgotten I'd bought and made a turkey pot pie out of the last of the Thanksgiving turkey that has been languishing in the freezer. I danced a jig of joy when I found another frozen chicken breast and realized I might be able to make it another week before grocery shopping. Then I lost my jig when I realized we were dangerously low in the cooking oil department, and I had planned to make fish and chips with the last two tilapia filets in the freezer.
So far this month, I have spent $18 on groceries. I suspect I'll double that amount this afternoon when I get more cooking oil and some more fresh fruit. (We're down to our last half of a grapefruit and some rather sorry looking tangerines and a pear that I don't know how long has been in the refrigerator.) I had hoped to only spend $40 for the month on food, and it's pretty clear that we can't do that. But I am finding that it's a lot easier to make dinner when "there's nothing in the house" than I anticipated. Hopefully, I'll learn how to shop a little more mindfully because of this exercise.
And, I'll never take a Saturday night pizza for granted again.