The Accountant's Garden

Scheduled non-accounting weeks: April 10-14, 2017 June 12-16, 2017 July 24-28, 2017

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I've been on a baking binge this week. Thursday was my birthday, so the girls and I made cupcakes. Green cupcakes with blue frosting and many, many sprinkles.

Then Friday, it was supposed to be super cold and stormy - maybe even snowing! - so I made Tuscan peasant soup (with a bean bag from Sierra Soups) and half-whole-wheat bread. Instead of chicken, I added veggie sausages at the end. The bread recipe was just a traditional white bread recipe, but I substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of all purpose flour. I also use vegetable oil instead of shortening, only because it's a little less messy. Oh, and I halve that recipe so that I can blend the ingredients in my food processor (just add flour until the dough comes together in a ball; very easy and easier to clean than the mixer).
For our Saturday morning waffle experiment, we tried gingerbread waffles. These were the best yet! The recipe called for apple butter (???) but I put in molasses because (1) I didn't have apple butter and (2) how can it really be gingerbread without molasses? They were DELICIOUS! A little less crispy than the standard waffles, but so yummy.
  • 2 ¼ cups Original Bisquick® mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ + cup molasses
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs

Saturday, February 19, 2011

This week's waffle experiment: Cornmeal Waffles
This is adapted from a recipe for Cornmeal Pancakes. Apparently, the way to convert a pancake recipe to a waffle-iron friendly version is to add a few more tablespoons of oil. These turned out great, by the way, and the recipe credit goes to Lindsay Miller's "The Apartment Vegetarian Cookbook."

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1-2 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp. oil
It's a long weekend. The kids have Friday and Monday off for the President's Day holiday. Usually, our school district has a whole week off, but that was removed, as school started one week late so that the new school buildings could open. I'm fully taking advantage of the extra time to get in more swim and brick workouts.

Friday: bicycle and run, 20 minutes each
Saturday: swim, 30+ minutes
Sunday: bicycle and run, 30 minutes each
Monday: swim 20 minutes, bicycle 45 minutes

Garden: It's been raining all week. February is a great time to start seeds indoors, though. The girls and I started these a little over two weeks ago. We have them upstairs in the entryway, for maximum light and warmth. So far, so good.
They planted cherry tomatoes, pumpkins (regular and miniature), melons, and kabocha (Japanese pumpkin).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Breakfast: Chocolate Waffles
This week, we added 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the standard waffle recipe. I used all-purpose flour (instead of whole wheat) and they turned out nicely. The batter was a bit runny, which made for some holes, so perhaps less milk or whole wheat flour next time. Either way, they were delicious, the only improvement would be having some chocolate syrup on hand.

Exercise: Brick Workout
The weather is nicer (somewhat) and it's time to get back into shape for triathlons this year. Honestly, it was quite cool this morning, and after a chilly downhill bike ride, a dip in the pool felt good. I swam 20 minutes, covering near half a mile. After drying off, I was back on the bike, though uphill this time. I rode for 30 minutes, 10 minutes longer than I wanted. I followed up by running around the block once. I wanted to run longer, but it's probably good that I didn't, since I did the whole workout in my Vibram 5 Fingers.

Lunch: Sahimi, rice and edamame.
Yum!

Cookies: Peanut Butter

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Waffles are my newest experiment. I've had a waffle iron for a couple of years and it's a favorite with the kids. Since my last post about the basic muffin, in which you merely add ingredients to the mix, I've been thinking about trying this with waffles. These above are oatmeal cinnamon and they turned out pretty well.

So, basic waffles are (approximately) 2 cups flour, 1.5 cups milk, .5 cups oil, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 2 eggs, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. With these, I added 1 cup of quick oats and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. I thought I should decrease the flour to 1.5 cups, but the batter seemed too soupy, so I added about another .25 cups. I used whole wheat flour, too, which usually makes the waffles a bit on the dry side.

I'm hoping that there are more interesting possibilities for waffle variations, like adding shredded or pureed fruit, or perhaps baking cocoa. Adding fruit will make the batter more watery, so I'm thinking that the amount of milk should be decreased. I guess we'll find out next Saturday, if I'm feeling in the mood.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

And now, a word on budgeting. 

Being an accountant, I can (and usually do) make very complex budgets. I have done this for several years for us, and yet, I still feel like we are not as in control as I would like. We are fortunate to have good salaries and frugal tastes, so it has worked out. This year, I am trying something different.

I have allocated a monthly stipend to use for household expenses. January, I went over. Not too far over, and the overage was offset by a gift check that I received. But... I overspent what I allocated.

Thinking about the month ahead, I know that some expenses (preschool, for instance) will be less because of the short month. On the other hand, I know that the mailbox will cost a certain amount to be repaired and I will owe some money for the recent surgery to repair my hernia.

My advice is to do the same: give yourself a fixed amount of discretionary spending (you know, after mortgage/rent & utilities) and then track what you spend. Before you make less urgent purchases (new clothes, shoes, etc.) think about what you have left to spend this month and decide accordingly. I, for one, will be putting off buying new running shoes for a month or so and not buying any new goodies for the kids.

Side note: budgeting time

I'm sticking to the new chore schedule, with this adjustment: I spent one hour on chores, then one hour on fun things (time with the kids, or time for me). It keeps me from working myself into total fatigue *and* I feel like I am spending adequate time and attention on the little ones.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

I have to say that yesterday was rather peaceful. I alternated every hour, between chores and doing things with the kids or for myself. Since there was a large amount of laundry, some of it is still unfolded and another bit of it is in the dryer, but worse things could have happened.

What's more important is that I really felt like I engaged with the kids all day. No one got on my nerves by asking too many questions (until the very end when I was scrambling to get dinner on the table), and I think overall, the kids had a good quality day.We read, did art projects, visited the park, played on the patio, and they even did some of my indoor workout with me.

So... can I pull that off again today? We have school today, plus I have an appointment, making the time at home a lot smaller. Basically, there will be one hour for chores this morning, and a couple of hours this afternoon. Since the chore is to change and wash the linens, I guess it's possible. I'll burn through at least two hours getting kids to school and picked up from school. I have an hour long run/walk planned for this morning, to be followed with that appointment.

I'd better get going then.