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Artichoke
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The 11 Day Stretch: COMPLETED!!!

YASSSSS! It's over! I can grocery shop once again!


That was....uncomfortable.


We had a couple of unexpected perks throughout the 11 days. Our anniversary came and brought with it a surprising giftcard to The Cheesecake Factory, so we got to go out on our first date night with our kiddo. And we had a bill end up being less than expected, so one night when I was sick and tired of cooking, Cody was able to treat me to an Aldi Pizza night.


Of all the dinner meals I included in my original 11 Day Stretch post, we ended up making:

  • Egg Drop Soup

  • "Ramen" (homemade spaghetti...ramen is so hard to make guys) noodle soup

  • Tomato Soup & Chicken Salad Sandwiches

  • Black Bean Soup

  • Homemade Corn Tortilla Refried Bean Tacos

  • Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli with Thyme and Garlic Sauce

  • Lemony Spinach, Rice & Bean Soup

  • Homemade Linguini with Alfredo

The other day was either leftovers or fried rice with frozen vegetables...I really cannot remember.



I am so thankful that at the beginning of the 11 days I put in the extra effort to prepare some food in advance. Like making 3 loaves of bread, vegetable stock, refried beans, and pasta dough all in one weekend. By the end of the first week, I was so emotional that we were nearly out of money because I get paid monthly, that I was in no state for cooking grand meals. Sometimes just putting beans in broth and calling it a soup actually took a good 20 minutes of moping around to get things actually on the stove and cooking. What can I say though, I'm human and the meal got cooked. As far as I'm concerned I got about 1,000 gold stars for all my effort. But.....

WE MADE IT THROUGH THE 11 DAY!


And just as a fun life update, we finally got our Food Stamps card! So we have a slight monthly relief from our food budget. It took about 6 hours of making phone calls, being put on hold, the call dropping, restarting the process, trying again the next week, etc. to get it in contact with the correct department. I was very close to giving up. However, I pressed on and now I get the benefit of being able to buy meat more than once a month. I love beans....but when you are forced to eat beans/high protein vegetables and you realllllllllly want some chicken, it's hard to eat those beans. Like real hard. Like I've skipped meals because I could not eat my beans hard. I'm the type of person that strongly values eating what I want when I want. Which is why I love cooking so much. I never want to be in a place where I cannot make the food I crave. It may make me a little dramatic and it may seem silly to be upset that I cant make a certain meal, but I don't care. If I want food that I can't have I'm going to be a little upset. I might eat something else, or I may not eat at all. I'm an adult and as long as I'm not starving from a lack of food I'm in the clear.


Anyhoooo! This stretch has shown me just how tasty being resourceful can be. The only meal I wasn't thrilled with was the black bean soup, and even that was good! I just didn't add enough flavor and was too full from refried bean tacos to care to add more salt. I think the next time I need to ration my food I'll put a little more focus on other meals as well. The energy it took to prepare parts of dinners was...too much. But the hunger I had in the mornings because I had forgotten to make a cheerio peanut butter bar the night before felt worse. I would rather power through the 15 extra minutes and make something to take with me in the mornings for a quick breakfast. I also want to make some rice up ahead of time to prepare for fried rice. That way I don't get tired of PBJ's every day.



Now that The 11 Day Stretch is over, I'm going back to my regular schedule. Shopping weekly, making a weekly menu before I shop, searching for coupons, rebates, and which shop has the best price. No clue what I'm making yet, but I'm so happy I get to finally shop again and have a tiny bit of freedom with the menu!



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