Well, I have good news and I have bad news.
I’ll give you the bad news first: We did pretty awful eating in the first week of our eat-in challenge.
I took two personal days in addition to our paid holiday on the 4th and the weekend, which gave me five days to staycation at the house. Of course, at our place, staycation includes day trips to the beach and the zoo and a little eating out (since it’s our favorite thing to do).
Friday: We went to St. Augustine for the day with the specific plan of using a $25 Restaurant.com gift certificate to the Florida Cracker Cafe I bought last year and never used. We left the house around noon, after breakfast, and were planning to eat an early dinner and skip lunch (to avoid eating out). Unfortunately, when we sat down at lunch (around 3) the waitress told us right away the certificate wasn’t applicable for lunch, only dinners.
After a short meltdown because I was starving, hot and disappointed, we found a cool place to hang out and get a Coke, then did a little light shopping.
Then we ate a phenomenal dinner for $15.00 (that’s including tax and tip). We had enough left over for a second dinner!
Saturday: We ate our breakfast and lunch at home, then were invited to a cookout at our neighbor’s house. We ate their hamburgers and mayonnaise based salads and chicken wings and didn’t spend a dime.
Sunday: We decided to take advantage of our annual pass to the Tampa Zoo. We ate breakfast at home, but did get a little snack at McDonalds ($6.00). We brought a snack to the zoo, then had dinner for under $10 at Panda Express. (Total for the day: $16.00)
Monday: Because we’d already done the hamburger/cookout stuff Saturday, we joined our friends for a July 4th pizza party, because what’s more American than Dominos? (Answer: lots of things.) They bought the pizza and we picked up salad, chips and soda, which we would have bought anyway as groceries (in fact, we had lots of this left over).
Tuesday: Our last day of staycation 2011 and since we’d already screwed the pooch as far as our challenge was concerned, we decided to eat dinner out one last time. This trip was to a Vietnamese restaurant and we used a coupon from our 2011 Entertainment Book. You guys, if you want to eat out on the cheap, and there are two or more people in your family, this book pays for itself in spades. We had a huge noodle bowl, a chicken terriyaki meal (they had a Japanese section to the menu — who knew?) and egg rolls for $12.00 (including tax and tip).
Wednesday: Last night was the first night we’d actually fixed dinner at our house. We had the leftovers from Friday along with some cheesy tater tots from the freezer. They were good, but not Sonic good. However, it didn’t cost us any money, so there’s that.
Thursday: That’s today, and we will be eating in, but not sure what we’ll be having. I’ll add this night in with next week’s recap.
So that’s the bad news.
The good news is that this challenge is four weeks long, and like pigging out while you’re on a diet, this week is a brand new week when we can start fresh. I was proud of us for not going overboard with our meals, sharing and getting water to drink. I was also proud of myself for only heading to Sonic once for a lemon-berry slush.
Although our meals were a little over my $10 imposed limit, they weren’t over excessively and we still have budget left over. It wasn’t a perfect week by any means, but it could have been worse.
I was looking at my freezer today — and this isn’t even the deep freezer, people — and it was just out of control filled with food. I wanted to take a picture of our pantry, too, to show you how ridiculous it is that we can’t just eat what’s there. A too-full pantry and freezer are just two of the many reasons I want to do this and do it right.
I’m calling to you guys to bring me your ideas, support and recipes. Seriously, if you have great recipes for chicken/beef that are quick and easy, email me or leave a link in the comments.
If you’re challenging yourself, too, how did you do?