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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Quick Post, Must Sleep

TCOY Day 4 off Sugar Road
  1. Walked to and from dr. appt in town.
  2. Dr. appt.
  3. Delicious sandwich for lunch with prosciutto, arugula and fresh mozzarella on freshly baked ciabatta. [I make some exceptions for fresh bakery bread.]
  4. Breakfast, overnight oats with fresh figs. At dinner, cauliflower rice and sautéed artichokes with chicken cutlets. Using "lunch" size, not dinner-size plate usually, and filling with half veggies.
  5. Ice water.
  6. Hoping for support group and yoga class tomorrow but might just do the latter, at 8 a.m.
$ MONEY SPENT OUT OF POCKET
  • Learning Express toy store, $15 gift card for prize for best kids' entry, ages 13 and under at our block party Sunday. I'm running the bake-off again and this year it's pizza. Dan and I donating gift card prizes, as we did last year, since we no longer collect money from everyone for party. We are getting this and a $15 gift card for adult prize--to Ah' Pizz, great pizza place in town. My neighbor/friend Peter is going to donate some great kitchen things for each entrant, spatulas, etc. $15.
  • Montclair Bread Company, the sandwich plus 3 ciabatta rolls, plus tip, about $12.50.
  • Kings, groceries again on my walk back, including 1/2 gallon organic milk, Ghirardelli extreme dark chocolate individually wrapped squares, good rye bread, good chicken sausages, breaded chicken cutlets [2 packs, on sale] and another can of Irish Flavahan's steel-cut oats for my overnite oats, $38.82.
Will add up numbers tomorrow. Good night.



Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Hard Day's Night

When not in a sugar haze, I feel more energized. I wrote this close to 9 p.m. and by then, I was tired. And in between work tasks, had fretted about Punchy's behavior on a few different counts. Our Punch has a good, golden heart, but......she has special needs, too.

TCOY/ Day 3 off Sugar Road
  1. I couldn't make it to 7 a.m. support group but I did get to Becky's great but hard yoga class from 8 to 9:15. Proud.
  2. Job app stuff.
  3. Talked to Sis.
  4. Walked back from town.
  5. Made really good dinner--flank steak [on sale today] marinated in teriyaki sauce; Martha Stewart recipe baby potatoes with rosemary I grew; green beans I grew; red, ripe sliced tomato from Elaine's garden. Vegan Fig and vegetarian Dan weren't here, and Punch and I are steak lovers, when we can get it.
  6. I just made a pot of Flavahan's creamy overnight Irish oats again, with pure vanilla extract and a ratio of half organic whole milk to half water. So good, almost like rice pudding. Punch loves figs, so before she ate whole pack I bought today, I squirreled away 3 to have tomorrow morning with my bowl.
$ MONEY SPENT OUT OF POCKET
  • Kings, 1/2 gallon organic milk, 1/2 gallon oat milk, yellow baby potatoes, teriyaki sauce, Cabot shredded cheese, fresh black figs, 1.38 lb flank steak, lemon, 2 wet dog food, $47.57.
  • Jackie's Grillette to meet talented neighborhood artist Maiko, who is going to make judges' pins, prizewinner stickers, etc. for the Pizza Bake-off I'm organizing for block party on Sunday. I had falafel on pita with lots of vegs, plus $1 tip, $9.
TOTAL DAILY SPEND: $56.57.
RUNNING TOTAL FOR MONTH AS OF SEPTEMBER 17: $1,308.63.
AVERAGE DAILY SPEND SO FAR: $76.97.


Compare to last month:
TOTAL SPEND FOR MONTH OF AUGUST: $2,895.06. ⬆️
AUGUST AVERAGE DAILY SPEND: $93.39.  ⬆️

Big-ticket 🎟🎟 September spends:
🎟 Citarella at Hudson Yards, NYC, dinner; plus fresh fruit, etc. to bring home, $35.
🎟 Whole Foods, groceries, including present for Fig and big yellow mum plant, $84.
🎟 Whole Foods, groceries, including salmon for dinner and an iced coffee from the barista, $63.
🎟 ShopRite, groceries, laundry detergent etc., $50.
🎟 Sky Zone [worth it, Punchy went with her nice friends], $25.
🎟 Joyist, $29.
🎟 Kings, groceries, $46.
🎟 Piazza della Sole, comfy, high-end shoes, half-price, $90.
🎟 Gasoline, twice, $52.
🎟 Chinese lunch with Sis, $33.
🎟 Grocery shopping in Connecticut w Sis, $48.
🎟 CPAP dr. co-pay, specialist, $50.
🎟 Whole Foods again, including 3-pack soy candles, pound smoked salmon and Hydro Flask for Punch, $166.
🎟  Jackie's Grillette, casual dinner and soft drinks for three, plus tip, about $45.
🎟 Salon 212 blowout plus tips for job hunting Friday, $45.
🎟 Kings, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella for women's group platter, $58.
🎟 CVS, melatonin gummies, milk, Listerine, $30.
🎟 Kings, 1/2 gallon organic milk, 1/2 gallon oat milk, yellow baby potatoes, teriyaki sauce, Cabot shredded cheese, fresh black figs, 1.38 lb flank steak, etc, $48.




Monday, September 16, 2019

Starting Over: Sugar Standoff

I made it to Day 14 driving off the Sugar Road and then turned back on that sticky highway on Friday night......Dan's bday apple cake, recipe, scroll below for Nan*, contained very little sugar but perhaps even that amount, combined with being tired and running around all day and living with crazy vibes from people under this roof, including my own.....well, I ate 1.5 chocolate chip cookies and one of Punchy's snacks from the freezer, post birthday candles.

Saturday, I went to my book group and enjoyed the sweet, fresh mango and pineapple in the fruit salad Julie brought and did not have a slice of Karen's dessert. Karen's desserts are well-known and delicious; in fact, she gives piano lessons at her home and the children look forward to her baked treats every week. This one was a white chocolate/mascarpone cheesecake with dark chocolate cookie crumb crust, and raspberries on top.

The craving didn't overwhelm me. The fruit and coffee met my after-lunch needs.

But then: Punchy's friend came over Saturday afternoon. Very nice girl, strong athlete, aspiring singer--and the two of them love to bake/create together in the kitchen. It was okay when they made pizza with a ball of dough from the store for dinner. I planned on not eating it, because I'm avoiding pizza and pasta, but I eventually did have some, because Dan went to get dinner ingredients and didn't return until nearly 8 p.m. I have to learn to count on myself. He is too late too often.

Next, the girls invented a Nutella cookie recipe. They winged it, using a lot of Nutella, white flour, a stick of melted butter, some whole milk, a teaspoon of baking powder, a couple eggs, white sugar....and chocolate chunks.

Again, I didn't plan on partaking. I packed up two tins, one for pal to take home and one for Punch--who wanted to save the remaining dough for the block party, so we froze that in small balls that are ready to bake.

But I was upset over conflicts between Dan and Punch, and again ate sugar. I had some of the cookies and a little leftover apple cake and a spoonful of Nutella to top it all off.

So yesterday I started again on DAY 1 off the road paved in sugar. Clean slate. I went to a women's group [my weekend was overly busy] and did not have cannoli cake, blueberry tart, cookies or a pretty layer cake with strawberries and piped swirls of thickly whipped cream.

I had a mug of hot coffee with milk. I must say it's hard not to indulge as a matter of shared enjoyment in a group of women friends.

Anyway, here goes. Have to catch up on my money for Saturday and Sunday. I'm assuming zero for today as of now. Will update if that changes.

TCOY
  1. Writing this post, looking sugar in the eye. Today is new Day 2.
  2. Overnight oats for breakfast with toasted unsweetened coconut and chopped pecans, yum.
  3. Red pepper, chicken sausage.
  4. PLANNING on 7 a.m. support group and early yoga class tomorrow.
$ MONEY SPENT OUT OF POCKET/Saturday, Sunday
  • Little Daisy Bake Shop, coffee for me and for Figgy, plus tip, about $6?
  • Parking meter, $1.
  • Whole Foods, 1 quart organic milk; 2 lbs. figs to make platter for women's group, $14.33.
  • Kings, two 4-oz. packs prosciutto; two 8-oz. fresh mozzarella balls, both for that same platter; large bottle Italian olive oil; and 2 Hu chocolate bars on sale, $57.69.
  • CVS, went for RXs, bought jar of melatonin gummies for Punch, half-gallon organic milk, small Dawn dish liquid, very large bottle Cool Mint Listerine, $29.54.
  • Liquor store, 3-pack cute bottles of Rose wine to bring to Saturday book group, about $14 with tax.
TOTAL WEEKEND + MONDAY SPEND: $122.56.
RUNNING TOTAL FOR MONTH AS OF SEPTEMBER 16: $1,252.06
AVERAGE DAILY SPEND: $78.25.


Compare to last month:
TOTAL SPEND FOR MONTH OF AUGUST: $2,895.06. ⬆️
AUGUST AVERAGE DAILY SPEND: $93.39.  ⬆️

Big-ticket 🎟🎟 September spends:
🎟 Citarella at Hudson Yards, NYC, dinner; plus fresh fruit, etc. to bring home, $35.
🎟 Whole Foods, groceries, including present for Fig and big yellow mum plant, $84.
🎟 Whole Foods, groceries, including salmon for dinner and an iced coffee from the barista, $63.
🎟 ShopRite, groceries, laundry detergent etc., $50.
🎟 Sky Zone [worth it, Punchy went with her nice friends], $25.
🎟 Joyist, $29.
🎟 Kings, groceries, $46.
🎟 Piazza della Sole, comfy, high-end shoes, half-price, $90.
🎟 Gasoline, twice, $52.
🎟 Chinese lunch with Sis, $33.
🎟 Grocery shopping in Connecticut w Sis, $48.
🎟 CPAP dr. co-pay, specialist, $50.
🎟 Whole Foods again, including 3-pack soy candles, pound smoked salmon and Hydro Flask for Punch, $166.
🎟  Jackie's Grillette, casual dinner and soft drinks for three, plus tip, about $45.
🎟 Salon 212 blowout plus tips for job hunting Friday, $45.
🎟 Kings, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella for women's group platter, $58.
🎟 CVS, melatonin gummies, milk, Listerine, $30.

*FRESH APPLE CAKE* 🍎

This is from a 1990 calendar. I reduced the amount of sugar in the original recipe [for instance, 1 tablespoon of sugar vs. 2 tablespoons].

Makes 9 smallish servings. I recommend doubling the ingredients and using a larger, rectangular pan. Baking time is about the same.

1/2 cup chopped walnuts [optional--and I like big, coarse pieces, not finely chopped]
2 large red apples, peeled or unpeeled, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour [this year, I used Cup4Cup gluten-free flour and it worked fine]
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt [excellent with French sea salt flakes; break them up with your fingers]
1/4 cup vegetable oil [or walnut oil]
1 egg, lightly beaten [this year, I used The Neat Egg powdered substitute and vegan Figgy and the rest of us loved the cake]
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 by 8 inch pan with oil, butter or cooking spray.
  2. Toast walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir often, watch carefully. Remove from heat after a few minutes or when they start to smell toasty and fragrant and are lightly golden brown. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, with a spoon, mix chopped applies with 1 T. sugar and the cinnamon. Let stand.
  4. In a medium bowl, with a spoon, mix flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  5. Stir oil, egg and vanilla into apple mixture. Add flour mixture and stir just until all ingredients are moistened. Stir in nuts if using (mixture will be stiff). 
  6. Spread mixture in prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until medium brown and apples are tender when pierced with a wooden pick. Serve warm or cool.
The original recipe says to cut into squares and serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, which sounds delicious and over the top, but we have the cake on its own. ❤️👨🏻‍🌾 

Friday, September 13, 2019

Birthday Apple Cake on Friday the 13th

I've been making the same apple cake for Dan since 1990--not every year, but often. Back then, he was 33 and I was 29. The tradition has been interrupted with a very deflated lemon meringue pie and small French apple tarts with homemade butter dough. 

The cake contains toasted walnuts, chopped apples, oil, flour, pure vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, some other basic ingredients--and very little sugar. I doubled the recipe this time and used Cup4Cup gluten-free flour [our friend Anne is GF] and The Neat Egg powdered egg substitute [for vegan Figgy]. It turned out delicious. We all liked it except Punch, who focused on the mango sorbet. I think the key to success is that the crisp fall apples and earthy walnuts still ride front and center, pure, unadulterated and packed with flavor. I will post the recipe soon. Too tired and busy tonight.

TCOY, Day 14 off Sugar Road. Made planned exception for this very low-sugar bday cake.
  1. Met my friend Rach for healthy lunch from Marcel--hadn't seen her in a while. We walked to Anderson Park and ate outside. I had the roasted veg special over hummus....so yummy. Rich, with that hummus bed--couldn't finish it all.
  2. Salmon and baked potato.
  3. Half banana.
  4. Grape-Nuts.
  5. Hair blowout by Christina!
  6. Applied makeup.
  7. Job hunted.
$ MONEY SPENT OUT OF POCKET
  • Salon 212, blowout, $35 plus tip for stylist and shampoo person, $45.
  • Sandwich Theory, iced coffee plus 50 cents tip, $2.75.
  • Sun Graphics, color copies of two recent magazine articles and 2 copies of resume, about $5.
  • Marcel Bakery & Kitchen, lunch with Rach and later, 2 mini cheese pastries so I could sit and work on laptop. With tip, $15 + $3.20, $18.20.
TOTAL DAILY SPEND: $70.95.
RUNNING TOTAL FOR MONTH AS OF SEPTEMBER 13: $1,129.50.
AVERAGE DAILY SPEND: $86.88.

Big-ticket 🎟🎟 September spends:
🎟 Citarella at Hudson Yards, dinner; plus fresh fruit, etc. to bring home, $35.
🎟 Whole Foods, groceries, including present for Fig and big yellow mum plant, $84.
🎟 Whole Foods, groceries, including salmon for dinner and an iced coffee from the barista, $63.
🎟 ShopRite, groceries, laundry detergent etc., $50.
🎟 Sky Zone [worth it, Punchy went with her nice friends], $25.
🎟 Joyist, $29.
🎟 Kings, groceries, $46.
🎟 Piazza della Sole, comfy, high-end shoes, half-price, $90.
🎟 Gasoline, twice, $52.
🎟 Chinese lunch with Sis, $33.
🎟 Grocery shopping in Connecticut w Sis, $48.
🎟 CPAP dr. co-pay, specialist, $50.
🎟 Whole Foods again, including 3-pack soy candles, pound smoked salmon and Hydro Flask for Punch, $166.
🎟  Jackie's Grillette, casual dinner and soft drinks for three, plus tip, about $45.
🎟 Salon 212 blowout plus tips for job hunting Friday, $45.




Thursday, September 12, 2019

Day 13, Needing to Take a Deep Breath

Today was busy, and I was writing on my laptop in my nightie. Then I went to my Private Benjamin appointment at 1:45--it's generally every two weeks, but I was helping Sis, and other things came up, and I hadn't been since August 13, a month ago.

I was happy to be there. I took a deep breath as I settled in on the black leather chair to talk--and be heard. And advised.

Then I drove back home, made sure Punch had done her homework, sent more work emails and drove to town with Punch so we could take her angel/former helper at school [K to third grade] for dinner at Jackie's Grillette. We hadn't seen Miss Warren in a long while--I still had her Christmas gift, a pink enamel mug from Java Love that says KIND PEOPLE ARE MY KINDA PEOPLE. Then I drove Young Miss all the way across town so she could feed her friends' two guinea pigs. Then back home, where Elaine was on deck so I could drive back across town again to middle school Back to School Night. While I'd love to stay up and watch the whole Democratic Debate, I can't. It's my turn to rise at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning to get Punch off to school. Dan just got back from a day in D.C. for work--he took Amtrak.

TCOY
  1. I'm faltering a bit. But did some important writing.
  2. Ice water.
$ MONEY SPENT OUT OF POCKET
  • Jackie's Grillette, casual dinner and drinks for three, plus tip, about $45.
  • Whole Foods, two cards for Dan, whose bday is tomorrow, plus $5 donation to help feed kids and enter a raffle that caught Punchy's eye, $19.63.
  • Parking meter, $1.50.
TOTAL DAILY SPEND: $66.13.
RUNNING TOTAL FOR MONTH AS OF SEPTEMBER 12: $1,058.55.
AVERAGE DAILY SPEND: $88.21.

Big-ticket 🎟🎟 September spends:
🎟 Citarella at Hudson Yards, dinner; plus fresh fruit, etc. to bring home, $35.
🎟 Whole Foods, groceries, including present for Fig and big yellow mum plant, $84.
🎟 Whole Foods, groceries, including salmon for dinner and an iced coffee from the barista, $63.
🎟 ShopRite, groceries, laundry detergent etc., $50.
🎟 Sky Zone [worth it, Punchy went with her nice friends], $25.
🎟 Joyist, $29.
🎟 Kings, groceries, $46.
🎟 Piazza della Sole, comfy, high-end shoes, half-price, $90.
🎟 Gasoline, twice, $52.
🎟 Chinese lunch with Sis, $33.
🎟 Grocery shopping in Connecticut w Sis, $48.
🎟 CPAP dr. co-pay, specialist, $50.
🎟 Whole Foods again, including 3-pack soy candles, pound smoked salmon and Hydro Flask for Punch, $166.
🎟  Jackie's Grillette, casual dinner and soft drinks for three, plus tip, about $45.