Have you ever been sitting around, minding your own business, when all of a sudden a serious food craving possesses your soul? Not gonna lie, for me it’s usually chocolate cake that strikes the “I must have you” nerve deep in my brain. A girl tries to be all healthy, and then that sweet, rich, chocolately killer of waistlines demands to be eaten. Helllloo, willpower! Glad to see you, my old friend!
Well, by some bizarro twist of fate, I have been hardcore craving veggies for the last week. Finally, a craving that lets me binge-eat as much as I want and not even have to be sorry! I was watching a YouTube video by my favorite YouTuber, Kalyn Nicholson, and she made a Buddha Bowl (which is basically a bowl full of veggies, whole grains, and a non-animal-based protein of some sort). It looked freaking amazing, and it definitely kicked off my veggie craving!
I went out to the store immediately and bought lots of veggies that I thought would go really great with rice noodles and broth–zucchini, mushrooms, onions, sweet bell peppers, spinach and garlic. I picked up a bag of brown rice spaghetti noodles and some vegetable broth. I went straight home and chopped veggies, boiled noodles, tossed it all together in a little broth with salt, pepper, garlic and curry, then topped it with some peanuts. It hit the spot…and it set off a vegetable craze!
I used the same veggies to make a stir-fry with brown rice two nights later. Then on Saturday I went to the farmer’s market downtown, the second-to-last of the season. I picked up some green beans, broccoli, beets (my all-time favorite veggie), lettuce, giant bell peppers and rye bread, surrounded by pumpkins and chilly fall air, with someone playing an acoustic guitar in the background.
I spent lunchtime that day on the patio at Ebb and Flow, with a bowl of tomato bisque soup and a glass of white ale from my favorite St. Louis brewery, 4 Hands Brewing Co.
Saturday was the most glorious Midwestern fall day. It was in the 60’s, and absolutely perfect for sitting in the sun on a patio with a sweater and a bowl of soup. That evening, before venturing back down to Ebb and Flow to visit with some friends, I gave in to another craving I’ve been having – Thai food! Specifically I’ve been craving Pad Thai, but I ended up ordering something that sounded even more delicious–Sweet Basil Thai, with noodles instead of rice. O.M.G….that stuff was loaded with veggies and a little spice, and I have to figure out how to duplicate it at home!
Sunday I had a very sedentary day. Aside from doing laundry, only because it would probably be frowned upon for my kids to go to school without pants, I did nothing besides sit in the living room chair and watch Gilmore Girls. I didn’t even get dressed until 2pm, and that was only because I had to leave at 3 to go pick up my boys from their dad. And you guys…it was incredible!
I had no plans for the weekend at all. I cancelled everything, and decided to just do whatever sounded good to me. No obligations. No plans. No structure. Just winging it and seeing where the day would take me. I tried to take that same philosophy into this week with my grocery shopping and meal planning…and while I wouldn’t call it a total fail, I can say that is one area where “winging it” doesn’t work!
I had no idea what I was doing or what to buy! I ended up planning meals around things I saw on the shelf, which I will admit was kind of fun and we ended up having meals that we haven’t had in a long time and wouldn’t otherwise have had. But without a plan and a list I kept feeling like I was missing things, which means I kept picking up more and more. When I got to the checkout and the cashier told me my total, I nearly fainted. I spent twice as much as usual! Which means I got no cash out for the fun stuff this week, and will have to put our Friday night out on the “wiggle room” in the credit card budget for the month.
So basically, when it comes to anything that effects my budget–winging it doesn’t work very well! However…I bought so much stuff I probably won’t have to shop at all next week and will end up with double the cash back, which means extra funds for even more spontaneous fun stuff! At the end of the day, I’ll probably still stick to my meal planning and list making, but leave a little wiggle room for spontaneous grocery items each week.
As much as I’m enjoying this whole winging it, come-what-may philosophy right now, I think the best thing for me will be balance. You just can’t get through life, especially as a single mom and college student with responsibilities, without having a schedule and making plans, or things will eventually turn into chaos and you won’t know how to manage it. It’s better to try to keep things from going off the rails in the first place than try to clean up the mess after they do. But the important thing that I’m learning is that not every moment needs to be planned, and I need to leave plenty of free time open in my life to allow for the spontaneous, spur of the moment things to happen.
Like writing this blog post on a Wednesday instead of grocery shopping, because I already bought my groceries on Monday! Now…off to pick up the kiddos and swing by Hobby Lobby for necessities to finish my costume for this weekend!