Tuesday, September 16, 2014

'Mur'ca Chili

I love chili. I will make it any time of year, regardless of how hot it is outside, because I keep my house cool and comfortable. It is never "too hot" for chili.

I've been using the My Fitness Pal app to track my caloric intake and exercise (ha!), so when I made a pot of chili last week, I carefully noted every calorie that went into it. Not because I'm all, "I MUST WATCH EVERY CALORIE!!!", but because if I'm going to track my calories, I must watch every calorie. Make sense? Good.

Anyway. I totaled up the calories in this recipe and it came out to...1776. I shit you not. My chili is a fucking patriot. So here I present to you: 'Mur'ca Chili.

'Mur'ca Chili
8 servings

1 roll 92%-lean Laura’s Lean Beef
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup diced onions (white, red, or yellow. I had yellow on hand)
1 24-oz. jar Local Folks diced tomatoes
2 15-oz. cans Muir Glen tomato sauce
2 15-oz. cans Kroger Simple Truth tri-bean blend
1 packet Brooks Chili Seasoning
2/3 cup water (adjust for your own wateriness preferences)

Brown beef with onions and garlic in skillet over low-medium heat. Drain off grease and set aside.
Add all ingredients to a large pot and simmer over low-medium heat until hot throughout.

Entire pot: 1776 (patriotic!)*
Per one-cup serving: 222 calories**

I ate it all before I remembered to take a photo, so here is a comparable picture that I found on the internet.

It's a tasty chili. I was pleased with it. My favorite chili is still my Gramps', but this was flavorful and low-cal, so it hit the spot. Mama's jeans are getting awfully tight these days, and I am too cheap to buy new ones, so it is more likely that I will simply live with a muffin-top until I drop a few pounds than purchase clothes that fit. It's best for everyone if I watch what I eat for a minute.

*Only if you use exactly that same stuff I used. I can't speak to the caloric content of other brands.
**That is before obligatory crackers and spaghetti noodles. Figure that shit out on your own.

Monday, September 1, 2014

It's high time to "no-spend" again!

If you recall, Husband and I have undertaken two no-spend challenges in the past fifteen months (June 2013 and October 2013). Both were fairly successful, with only a handful of "slip-ups" in each month. I've decided it's high time we do this again, and here's why now is the perfect time:

  • We finally upgraded to smart phones and the plan is far more expensive than our old plan.
  • We hosted a couple of parties this summer, which included food, yard additions, and gifts.
  • We bought a truck almost entirely in cash, which hit our savings pretty hard and almost doubled our car insurance rate, even with multi-car and safe-driver discounts. 
  • We want to pay off the tiny bit of the truck purchase that we financed (so as not to leave us with too little in savings) in six months.
  • We need to reset our spending habits because we want to pay off all my student loans and what's left of our Jeep payments within four years. 

So in the interest of remaining credit card debt-free, we're slowing it down this month. I have all the books (yay, library!) and curriculum items I need for our first month of school, which begins tomorrow. We have our staycation planned for next month.  There are a couple of planned things we need to spend a little on this month, but nothing huge (Bear's Girl Scout camping trip; a Florence Freedom game). The clothes we have will be completely sufficient for a Northern Kentucky September.

So. No non-grocery or unplanned purchases for thirty days. Again. This will help us bulk our savings account back up a bit so we can get moving on that whole "5-10 acres" plan.

I may do some Christmas shopping this month, but I have money set aside for that, as I put some away specifically for Christmas every pay period. So that money is already accounted for and frankly, I need to get cracking. Not to mention that doing some Christmas shopping should appease the "buy spend buy!" voice a little.

My other distraction plans? Finally open the can of paint I bought a month ago and paint Bug's room; submit some writing to literary journals; learn mah youngens; go for a walk a few times per week.

Wanna play? It's actually easier than it sounds, and once you have one under your belt, you kind of look forward to the next one. Try it for a week. It's really quite manageable and definitely beneficial. And if you want, I will hold you accountable. I will be all, "Nooooooo! If you buy that Thing, you FAIL!!!!!" And no one likes to fail. I will be that defeatist voice in your head. It's just the kind of friend I am.