Our Month Without Take Out

5 Mar

One of my 30 before 30 goals was to go a month without buying carry out. January was my month for this goal.  I put in an exception for planned outings with friends, since most of my social activities involve food or drinks.  Without that exception, it would be a long and lonely month.  Of course, the exception overwhelmed the rule.  In the course of the month, I participated in ten planned meal outings–outings coordinated in advance, with friends, and in a real sit down restaurant.

Despite the numerous restaurant meals (you can only imagine how many more this would have been in a typical month where carry out was allowed), Mr. Beez and still saved a good chunk of cash.  We made sure that when we went to the grocery store, we picked up plenty of cans of soup, microwave meals, and other quick fix options.  None of these are ideal meal choices, but a can of Campbells is still much cheaper and healthier than yet another fried rice dinner.  (I’m not claiming canned soup is healthy, it’s a block of salt, I know that…it’s just better than having a million meals of carry out).

What I learned in January had nothing to do with food.  It was a month of learning that “Good Enough is the New Perfect.”  At the end of the month I wondered if I should do a do-over, and make myself have a full month of no restaurant food whatsoever.  I realized that that doesn’t fit with our family’s rushed lifestyle. Even if it meant I finished the month a few pounds lighter and with a few more bucks in my pocket,  I would have spent the month stressed, without seeing my friends, and unhappy.  I did the best I could, I’m carrying practices from that month over to the rest of my life (I bought 17 cans of soup at the grocery store this week), and I’ve accepted that even though I didn’t get a “perfect score” it is still OK.

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5 Responses to “Our Month Without Take Out”

  1. rachelraven March 5, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    Giant Eagle had these boxed soups that were on sale for $1 a box and each had “two servings” in them. Not that they are probably healthier than canned soup, but with people calling canned goods these days, they were a good option. I got some black bean, Italian Wedding soup, a chicken noodle, and some butternut squash soup (which was good and easy to amend to flavors I wanted; I added some cumin and red pepper to spice it up, and it worked surprisingly well). We try our best to cut down on take out, and our lifestyle isn’t as busy as yours so it’s not quite as hard to do, but I’ve found it does indeed help me feel better and feel better about my (lack of) finances, too. Do you use your crock pot for meals? That’s another way to get good family food into your family, and it’s amazing to smell it all cooked and ready when you get home tired from work!

    • BeezusKiddo March 5, 2012 at 8:50 am #

      I haven’t seen those GE soups, but I’ll keep an eye out for them.
      I DO do a lot of cooking with the crock pot. I love it. Just this weekend I improvised a “chicken with vegetables” dish– chicken and the veggies left over in the fridge (garlic, red peppers, mushrooms) and some stock, salt & pepper– cooked all day, then served over rice. It wasn’t fancy, but it served to use up stuff in the fridge, and Baby Beez chowed down on it. I thought it was pretty good, too.
      I do need to learn how to use my crock pot for more than just soups/stews. I know you can make pasta, lasagna, and pot pie with a crock pot, but haven’t gotten around to learning how.

    • Sandy March 5, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      Our friend Viki does some similar doctoring with Italian Wedding Soup, she gets the can and puts some fresh spinach in it. I do this…whenever I have fresh spinach.

      We eat a LOT of frozen vegetables – we get those microwave steam-in-bag with some sort of flavoring. We’ll eat those with pasta or sauteed chicken breast or pork chop or whatever – it’s a pretty quick meal. Although Ben gets home from work a good bit earlier than I do so he has time to cook the meat, and that may not work for you. If we can’t get dinner on the table by 6:30, Elena activates meltdown mode.

      • BeezusKiddo March 5, 2012 at 11:35 am #

        I do a lot of those microwave steam in bag veggies, too. I used to turn my nose up at them as “lazy” but now that I have to feed a small impatient person, I see how WONDERFUL they are.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 30 before 30 « beezuskiddo - March 5, 2012

    […] Go for a whole month without eating carry out (happy hour drinks excluded, since that tends to be the most convenient way to see my friends). Accomplished this, as close as it’s gonna get, in January 2012. […]

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