Earlier this week that I needed a job. I could see our residual expenses stacking up and our goal of floating to January seemed to look more like early December.
Kim found an add in the paper requesting balloon artists. I have the skillz still so I gave them a ring Tuesday morning. Within an hour the owner Christena called back, asked a few questions then told me there was a group interview in the next two hours. Katheryn the Austin manager called next and told me how the company operated and gave me directions.
1hr later I’m sitting across Katheryn in a Whataburger booth, talking shop like I know what the fuck I’m talking about… Amazing Texas Twisters has an opening and they are especially excited about me because I’m the only person who can fit in the Iron Man costume. Honestly that was a bit of a confidence booster…where do I sign?
So my first gig is in north of town at a place called EZ’s. I’m supposed to shadow “Katya” and the first thing I think of is Katya Casanova. Sweet! I waited in the parking lot of EZ’s, a sleepy burger joint with a brick oven to give them credibility. Katje pulled up and turned out to be a slightly heavyset, mid-fourties german lady with a heart of gold.
Katje’s idea of shadowing is quite literal and I stood next to her for the first five tables standing and watching. It was horrible…all I could think about is “why am I here?”. But as the night went on I spoke with the customers more and made some balloons. I generally got to goof off and it was a really fun feeling.
I told Katje I was going to go and she said in her thick German accent she said, “Can I give you a hug?” Hell yes.
I cruised back through downtown on Lamar, then across the river and on to Manchaca. Windows down, feeling great. I don’t know where this is going…all of it. But in certain moments I’m finding happiness that was lost a long time ago. It makes up for the self doubt and hand wringing.
Last night we were shopping and everybody was pretty “hangry”. We decided to cut the trip short and eat out. Sitting in the truck on our iphones we searched for a restaurant and I couldn’t do it. No matter where we went it was going to be at least $30. I ran back into the store for protein and veges and made a pretty good meal.
Del Monte Pasta Sauce (Can)
Noodles (1/2 pack)
Onion (1/2 medium)
HEB Ground Turkey (1lb of 3lb Packet)
Ceasar Salad Kit
Get a pot of water with a punch of salt going straight away. Put the meat in a pan and start browning. Once nearly cooked, drain fat and add chopped bell pepper and onion (and garlic if you have it). Once onions are translucent add the can of Del Monte Pasta Sauce and simmer.
Once the noodle are done (sticking to the wall and have the right texture) run cold water over them.
This meal fed the four of us and even left one lunch serving for under $9. This is a winner.
I’ve been researching how to put together nutritious meals for the family without breaking the budget. Google “cheap homemade meals” and a number of recipes comes up. I gleaned the sites looking for commonalities.
Broken down into macros each meal is comprised of protein, carbs and vegetables.
You can reduce your price per oz by going for the less popular cuts of meat. Chicken thighs, pork chops, beef chuck, etc. These are still reasonable when buying organic/free range. Oddly enough, ground turkey is an awesome alternative to beef for health and your budget.
Carbs are too often demonized. Like anything moderation is key, and on a budget moderation is a necessity. The key here is buying bulk goods and taking the extra time to cook dried goods.
Kim found a 2lb bag of brown rice for $0.75 after coupon. HEB has an awesome bulk isle with a lot of good options… Israeli Cous Cous, Bulger Wheat, Lentils, etc. Get creative with the fillers.
We buy the fillers in bulk, then eat from our supply until it is entirely gone. This way it all gets eaten, even if it takes a week to work through a giant bag of dried pinto beans!
We buy protein a week at a time, carbs every 2 weeks and vegetables are purchased almost daily for freshness. At this point, we have no strategy with vegetables as we buy what we need and mostly organic. I’ll pick a roma tomato over a vine tomato, but that’s about it. More to come in this section.
Once you have these three items in the house it’s a matter of being creative and mixing them together so you ensure you nothing is wasted in the fridge. Use easy meal spice packets to help out, have fun and stay healthy.