Brown Bag Challenge *FINAL WEEK* Recap

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Can I say that I am extremely relieved! The Brown Bag Challenge is officially over and life can become semi normal. For week 4 because the finish line was in sight it gave me the motivation to really push myself to bring my lunch to work. And boy was I successful. On Monday I brought tomato stew and rice; Tuesday saw me eating baked chicken with cabbage, potatoes, bell peppers, and carrots; Wednesday there was a work picnic (Yayyy free food!!); Thursday was a repeat of Tuesday; I went out to lunch on Friday so nada on that front. But overall it was a win.

For the last week of the challenge I saved $56. WOW!!! 🙂 🙂 To date on the challenge I banked $154.

The challenge, as you all saw, was extremely difficult for me. But I can say that my eating habits have improved and I will be more cognizant of bringing my lunch to work. I can’t promise that I’ve been doing this daily but I wont be going months without bringing my meals. So if you ever want to save money in a small way, I would say go ahead and try the brown bag challenge!

Brown Bag Challenge Week 3 Recap

I will be the first to say that I am the absolute worst when it comes to daily blogging. So apologies for making a lofty promise that’s a bit hard to keep. Week 3 of the Brown Bag Challenge ended…well not too great.

I brought food in to work 2 of the 5 days :(. So on Monday I brought in Hummus and Pita chips and saved $14. But the progress wasn’t maintained since Tuesday and Wednesday saw me purchasing. So minus $28. On Thursday I brought Rice and Tomato Stew in to work, so a small victory. Unfortunately the week closed on a weak note since I purchased lunch on Friday.

I’m starting to notice the trend of being able to bring in my meals some days of the week and not the full. That’s not too bad. It’s progress. 🙂

So in all for week 3 I saved $28 and spent $42. For days 8&9 of last week I spent $28 dollars total. As of now I have banked $98. Yayyy me!

Quick & Easy Chili Nachos

Seeing that I had a plethora of Chili in my fridge last week, I had to find ways to swag it out so that I didn’t feel as if I was eating the same thing almost everyday (I was though 😦 ). In a bought of laziness I decided to make my own chili nachos at home. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted in the end. (Forgive this post! It’s not a picture laden as normal)

What you need:

3 cups of Tortilla Chips

1 cup of Chili

1/2 cup of salsa

1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a prepackaged Mexican blend)

6 leaves of lettuce

Take the cup of chili and heat it until warm.

Wash and dry the lettuce. Then chop it into small pieces.

On a large plate, spread the tortilla chips into one layer.

Pour the Chili over the tortilla chips.

Sprinkle with cheese, so it can melt over the Chili.

Top with the lettuce, and finally your salsa.

Voila!! You have your Chili Nachos. A quick, easy, and delicious meal in less than 10 minutes.

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Brown Bag Challenge Day 7

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Today was a lazy but successful day. Lazy in that I took Haystacks in as lunch. Literally tortilla chips, beans, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream. The idea being that I’d assemble and eat during lunch. And successful in that I took my lunch in to work. Yay me!!!

Because I was between 2 client sites today, by the time I got to the second client site I didn’t have much of an appetite. So i took a few bites and lost interest. Tomorrow will be interesting since I will be splitting my time again between 2 locations. Hopefully i eat more than a couple of bites and loads of water.

Money saved today $14. Overall banked $70 (including $2 from Friday and  $8 from yesterday). Small small steps.

Brown Bag Challenge Day 5&6 Recap

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3 out of 6 is all I can really say right now. So far I was able to bring my meals 3 out of the 6 days the challenge has run. I realize that when ever I run late, I’m prone to leaving my meals in the fridge and purchasing.

On Friday I was running late and purchased both breakfast and lunch losing about $12 dollars. Today I was running late again but I think it was in direct relation to the Labor Day Barbecue that I hosted. Ironically I had no leftovers so I had to purchase lunch for $8.

Combined loss $20. Overall saved $48.

For this week I going to aim to wake up earlier to allow for more wiggle room for my departure from the house; to reduce the odds of leaving the food behind. I also plan to add some variety to my brown bags to reduce the temptation to purchase, because I noticed that eating the same meal makes me bored.
It’s harder than I thought it’d be!

Brown Bag Challenge Day 4

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Today I epically failed the Brown Bag Challenge. I was running late this morning and missed the ideal window to leave by 5 minutes. While it seems its not that big a deal, those 5 minutes make the difference between beating traffic or sitting in it for 30 minutes.

In the rush I didn’t grab my food. I saved on breakfast because of an early morning meeting where it was offered, but had to buy lunch.

Luckily, it was food truck Thursday. So I went ahead and got Vietnamese Chicken Tacos and called it a day.

Spent $9 today. I’m still banking $5 for the breakfast I didn’t buy. Overall saved  $48.

Brown Bag Challenge Day 2

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Today started roughly. I packed my lunch bag, fruit and Chili. Gathered my laptop and work bags. Went out to my car. Put everything inside. Then prepared to pull out the drive way. I turned the key to start the engine. Nothing. I tried again. Nothing. The car battery had completely died on me.

I had to jump start my car and move it to a different part of the driveway so it wasn’t blocking the other cars, because I didn’t trust it to not go out once I got to work. I then got a ride to the train station.

At this point I was seriously considering leaving my lunch behind because mass transit commuting with 3 bags isn’t fun. Especially when there’s a 10 minutes walk to the office involved. But I held fast.

By the time I reached the office I was famished. I grabbed my fruit salad and headed into a meeting.

I ate lunch around 12:30pm, and really enjoyed it. I was worried that I wouldn’t like it since this would be the second day eating Chili but it was definitely what I needed.

Day 2. $14 saved! $28 total…this is going pretty well!

If you are interested in the challenge feel free to join and let me know how it’s going in the comments.

Brown Bag Challenge Day 1

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If you are a working person, you definitely understand the challenge packing and bringing lunch to work can present. Sometimes it’s too tiring to make food; the selections are too boring; or the pressure to lunch with coworkers it huge. But I recently reviewed my bank statements and was appalled by how much I was spending on meals. It wasn’t just lunch but breakfast too. (So you can imagine).

To remedy this situation and keep money in my pockets I am challenging myself to bring breakfast and lunch to work for 4 weeks and document it here. If I complete the day successfully I’ll bank the money I would have spent. That’ll be approximately  $14 (keep in mind I work downtown ;)).

To start of I prepped my meals on Sunday, Turkey Chili and fruit salad. This morning I packed my breakfast, fruit salad, and my lunch, chili, with water and left for work. By the time I got in I was starving but the fruit held me for about 3 hours until lunch. Which was delicious. All in all day one was a success!

$14 dollars saved.

Feel free to join if you are interested!

Rice Paper

July has been a bittersweet month, especially as friends and family transition to new phases and places in life. Luckily Rice Paper is the type of restaurant that forces time to stop and makes you focus on the meal and those you are sharing it with.

Located in Falls Church, VA, Eden Center. Rice Paper is a Vietnamese restaurant that offers traditional fare. The restaurant layout is beautiful and calming with hanging lanterns above the center and a large bar taking up the back wall.

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The menu offered has an extensive list of selections. With clear delicious descriptions of every item shown. Each item on the menu was large enough to shared and that is definitely what we did.

We ordered  Cơm Bò Lúc Lắc, a Cubed Beef dish sauteed with onions,tomatoes,and oyster sauce served on a bed of greens; Lẩu Đuôi Bò a spicy oxtail soup that came with rice; and Bánh Hỏi Con Điệp & Tôm Nướng, Grilled Scallop & Shrimp served with steamed thin Vermicelli noodles, meant to be wrapped and eaten in rice paper.

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So if you are ever in Falls Church, Va make sure to stop by Eden Center and catch a meal at Rice Paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hummus in 5

These days I find myself getting home pretty late. And because I don’t feel liking prepping a full meal, I “graze”. Which literally means that I snack on whatever is available in the fridge or pantry. In an effort to stop this habit and have some semblance of a healthy snack, I started making hummus to have something to eat with veggies, crackers, or pretzels with. It’s extremely simple and very quick to make.

You will need:

1 can Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)

1 jalapeno

1/2 a small yellow onion

1/2 a bell pepper

1 clove of garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

First take the your veggies and cut them into pieces that can be processed easily by your food processor.

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Next drain, and rinse your chickpeas and place it in the food processor. Followed by the veggies.

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Add the olive oil and salt to taste. Blend.

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Blend until the hummus has a smooth consistency. Voila! You now have hummus. Enjoy ;).

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