January 10, 2010

Month of frugality, week 1

Most of you know that every year, LaV and I set aside January as our "month of frugality" to take a break from the indulgences and excesses of the holiday season and focus on simplicity and more modest living. Here's how it works: apart from bills, we can't spend money on anything except groceries. No shopping, no eating out... not even a burger or a cup of drip coffee. I also give up wine (and all other alcoholic beverages) for the month.

This first week has gone pretty well, with the theme being juice and soup. At the end of the year, LaV fell prey to to power of the infomercial and bought a juicer---but it ended up being a fantastic purchase. We've been experimenting with all sorts of combinations each day, and I'm totally hooked on juicing almost everything in sight. So far, my favorite combo has been carrot, kale, apple and ginger. It's crazy how much juice you can extract from vegetables, and it has actually been surprisingly inexpensive... a week's worth of fruit and veggies for daily juices came out to about $5.

We've also got a massive surplus of tea, so we're brewing plenty to keep us warm.

Food-wise, we've been doing lots of soup. We started off the new year with a massive hot pot meal with our friends, which converted nicely to a restorative bowl of steaming goodness the next day.

We also did a soup of pork belly, fennel and chickpea, as well as a Chinese-style oxtail soup, which took care of us for a few meals.

The week's dinners were rounded off with LaV's chicken tagine with israeli couscous and a bit of pasta.

Oh yeah, since they were only $4.99/dozen at the market, we splurged and shucked some fresh fanny bay oysters as a little treat.

Now, we're thinking up a few simple, tasty and inexpensive meals for the week ahead. Perhaps a bit of fresh fish, some stir fry... and more juices, I'm sure.


  1. What a great idea (except for the giving up wine part - really)! Looks like you're still eating really well!

  2. That juice looks so beautiful, despite the fact that it has kale in it! :P

  3. Yeah, it's actually surprising how tasty the juice of things like kale can be when you add just a bit of sweetness from fruit. The carrot juice is the real surprise... unreal sweetness. I'm going to be using it for a carrot juice reduction in a scallop dish tonight...