Tuesday, January 15, 2013

oat milk

One of the ingredients hanging around in my cupboard, not being used, is oats. I try to like oatmeal, and it's not awful, but Erik doesn't care much for it so I forget to make it. A few nights ago, I came across this awesome post about making a variety of things with your juicer, one of which was oat milk! Suddenly, my juicer use has been taken to an all time high. 

I don't like milk very much, and tend to only use it to make yogurt. Almond milk is my usual purchase in the way of milk alternatives, but I'm completely willing to make a switch if it means not needing to buy anything. Finally, a use for all those oats.

One thing to note, however, is if your juicer has a small top opening, it's a little painful trying to get all the oats and water through without making a giant mess. I managed to, for the most part, contain my mess, but it was a little annoying having oat water spill around the juicer and countertops. I suggest something like a funnel or a small ladle (not a giant one, like I was silly enough to use) for a less likely chance of creating a lake on your counters.

If you don't own a juicer, here is a recipe for making oat milk with a blender and strainer. You can add sweeteners or seasonings to your milk if you care to, but I left mine plain.

Oat Milk

1 cup oats (anything but quick, I have steel cut)

3 1/2 cups water


Soak oats in 1 cup of water overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, add the rest of the water to the oats and stir. Pour mixture into juicer, using funnel or ladle. When all the mixture has been juiced, take out the oat pulp and re-juice, just to get every last bit out. Pour into a jar or bottle, cover and store in the refrigerator up to a week or so.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Five ways to get a free (or nearly so) workout

For some reason, many of us think we need to join a gym to get any exercise done. I usually do, I don't know if it's just because I expected to not get a good work out in if I was at home, or that it's expected that you go to the gym to exercise and that's where it's done.

When we moved, I didn't have a car and I didn't like the idea of going to the gym on the bus, being all smelly on the way home. Also, I hate spending money on things I could probably do for a lot cheaper or free. I decided I wanted to get more fit (after gaining 20 lbs--AH!), and while browsing through blogs, found this workout. Later, when I decided I needed a little more, I researched a few DVD's. I started with Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred, then moved on to two other workouts of hers once I got through the 30 days.

However, I get really tired of doing the same workouts over and over (and Jillian talking to me). Not to mention, it's not really the best way to train. Your body gets used to whatever you're doing and eventually you start to plateau. I needed some variety.

Here are a few ways that I've figured out how to get my exercise in, while keeping things fresh and free (or next to it).

1. Hulu. This is where I get most of my workouts from. If you look in their genres, there is a health and wellness station, with anything from pilates and yoga to kickboxing and intense circuit training. Some of the stations only have clips and not entire workouts, but I've noticed that it makes it fun that way. I tend to put together a workout using three 20 minute clips so I don't get bored looking at the same people or doing the same thing for an hour.

2. Podcasts. If you're someone who doesn't need too much visual instruction, podcasts are a great way to find good workouts, especially yoga. 

3. Pinterest. Have you ever searched for 'workouts' on Pinterest? It's insane, there are so many on there! When we did our holiday vacation, I looked for my workouts on there. I only did one workout (intention is all that matters, right?) but there were so many great workouts that didn't require a single bit of equipment, were quick, and worked.

4. Take a long walk. I know it's winter over on the mainland and it's snowing, icy and cold in many places, but if you get a nice day, walking is awesome. You get some vitamin D from the sun, fresh air, and great things to look at. Plus, it's been said that those who walk every day for exercise tend to keep their weight off better than others. I think it's just because it's more fun :)

5. Get a DVD with a variety of workouts. Those DVD's I got were only $7-$9 each, and were well worth it. If there's more than one workout on there, you get even more bang for your buck. I still use them from time to time, if I'm wanting something really specific and can stand to do it another time. 

Just a little side note--A lot of workouts want you to have weights. A set of hand weights can cost $15-$20, depending on the size, but if you're actually going to use them, it's money well spent. Circuit training is fabulous for you and adding some weights along with cardio helps you get more out of your time spent exercising. 

Does anyone else have some helpful tips for getting your workout in for free?

Monday, January 7, 2013

eating on a shoestring budget

As I mentioned in the previous post, we're going to do a spending holdhold (you can learn about how to do your own from Anna here--she is awesome and has some excellent info for how to get started, how she did her own, her journey, etc.) for January and possibly February, depending on how things go this month. We're both really excited about it and looking forward to seeing how much money we can save!

Our number one expense, aside from rent, is food and drinks. We are both big fans of microbrewed beer and wines of various sorts. We are also big fans of eating out, as it's a fun and simple thing to do in order to get out of the house. Not to mention, I'm a bit of a foodie, so I like trying fancy new recipes and I adore any cheese beyond the staple cheddar. All these things add up to a giant grocery and restaurant bill each month. I wish I could blame it all on the expense of Hawaii, but the ticket would be high whether or not we lived on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

Obviously, because this is our biggest expense that we can actually do something about this month, it was the first thing to tackle on what limits we needed to set for ourselves. Groceries are quite expensive, so I want to limit myself to using as much stuff we've already got in the house, right down to a jar of peanut butter that's been in the pantry for nearly a year. Step number one was to take an entire inventory of grocery items. I know, I know, we all think we know what's in the cupboards every day, we look at them all the time when we're bored and looking for something to munch on. But, I've had some nutritional yeast, 9 grain hot cereal mix and lentils that have been hanging out since our old apartment. Clearly I don't know what we've got in the cupboards. 

*"WHAT, TURKEY?! BUT YOU'RE VEGETARIAN!!" I was kind enough to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving for my husband and our friends. But, we ended up with a ton of leftovers that are now hovering in the freezer, likely for lunchtime sandwiches for Erik.

(note: I don't include spices, vinegars or oils because I keep those as staples)

Alright, inventory done. Now to figure out what to make.

This is the tough part, because either I have to get really creative, or our meals are going to be very basic. I got a little of both, and realized we're probably going to be eating a whole lot of soup for a while. Thank goodness it's winter on Oahu.

I limited my shopping for items to 2-3 items per recipe, if that. Some recipes didn't require me to buy anything at all, which was fabulous.

I was able to get this little list of items for $34.97, a steal here for any amount of groceries that will get you through a week and still include produce. I don't even want to go in to how much is usually spent on groceries each week, so just know it was a lot more than that ;-)

If you're interested in seeing our meals, I'll be posting them on Instagram for your viewing pleasure.

There you have it, our first week of meals on our spending fast! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Welcome, 2013! (and me)

It's finally here. The time when I decide I'm back on the blog.

After an extensive break to complete my last semester of college (which I did with flying colors and a shiny 4.0!) I think it's time to come back. I kind of miss it.

And what a great time to come back, after all the holidays are gone and it's a brand new year. Things always get exciting around the first few months of the year, as people are trying to make some changes in their lives. Whether they stick or not, that is yet to be decided. Do you even remember last year? All I remember is wanting to make the bed every day and I can say that I make my bed way more than I used to. It's not every day, but it's  a good start.

I have a few changes of my own that I'll be working on in the year 2013. Some are only for a short time, and others are things I would really like to make permanent. 

1. Do a spending hold during January and February

2. Read more than watching TV

3. Be more positive (I think this one is always on my list now)

4. Get outside in the sunshine for at least 20 minutes each day

5. Learn how to make a quilt

6. Get involved with a yoga community

They're mostly little things that I've been thinking about doing, but being more positive is always a bit of a struggle. My husband tends to nickname me "Debbie Downer" if I'm in one of those moods of looking at things in the worst way possible. And those moods are a little too common in this house, so it's time I cut it out. Perhaps getting more daily sunshine will help.

Happy 2013!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Some highlights

In the back of my mind, I remember that I have a blog. But as I've mentioned, my focus has been almost undivided to finishing this final semester of undergraduate school--and finishing strong! Next Thursday marks my final date and I will be more than pleased to be done. It's a scary new journey ahead, full of professional resumes, interviews and (hopefully) a job offer. 

Here are a few moments from the past few months

trying my hand at some old-fashioned cake doughnuts

anniversary dinner

a beautiful day at the beach

wine tasting

holiday drinks while studying

thanksgiving decorations

fall sangria

a decimated thanksgiving table