Food is probably the most danger-prone area of our household budget. Once upon a time, we lived in a really fun neighbourhood full of amazing restaurants. I cringe thinking about the thousands of dollars we spent on Thai takeout and burritos. Thankfully, we tend to be a bit more conscious of our spending (and our caloric intake) these days.
When we first started living together, we shared a really tiny apartment. And I was really terrible at cooking. I mean, I made an effort, and whatever I made usually tasted good in the end. But I really didn’t know how to make anything without a very specific recipe. Sometimes I would spend hours scouring the internet for a promising recipe that I could make with the ingredients I happened to have in my ill-stocked pantry. Other times, I would choose whatever sounded appealing and rush to the grocery store to buy $60 on condiments I would only use once.
The truth is, this is the way most of us cook. It’s the reason why we end up buying things like frozen pizzas and pre-made soups just to make life a little easier. Finding a recipe that matches the ingredients we have on hand is stressful and time-consuming. Rushing out to buy specialty ingredients is stressful, time-consuming and expensive. Continue reading
We had planned to get married for a long time before we did. We talked at length about what making that commitment meant to us, and made serious, concrete plans for our shared life. We talked about where we would live and what we wanted to accomplish individually, and how our goals would fit together and even complement each other. We talked about our excitement about actually saying vows and tying the knot, and looked forward to referring to each other as husband and wife.
But the conversation never once turned to what kind of party we would have. Even in the midst of making all these grand plans for the future, we never thought about venues, a guest list, flower arrangements, or bridesmaid’s dresses. I never found myself wishing for an elaborate proposal or a big sparkly ring (I’ll save my thoughts on engagement rings for another occasion).
Truthfully, the prospect of marrying Steve has always felt to me like a perfect fit, but having a traditional wedding never has. Continue reading
I can’t believe there was ever a time in my life where I wouldn’t eat before leaving the house in the morning. Nevermind having to spend a few hours dying of hunger (and/or hanger) before I could take a break, I used to buy things like oat bars from Starbucks and croissants from Tim Horton’s on a regular basis.
Now, both of us eat oatmeal almost every single morning. It’s basically nature’s perfect food: infinitely customizable, ridiculously healthy, and cheap as hell. Plus, you can go from 0 to breakfast in just 45 seconds of microwave time.
But sometimes it’s still nice to be able to take your breakfast with you, or have something a little fancier to serve to guests. These little “nests” are part thumbprint cookie, part baked oatmeal. They’re a delicious, healthy alternative to whatever you were going to order at Starbucks, and they have no weird preservatives or refined sugar. They’re also vegan, wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free, in case you’re concerned.
If the cookie monsters in your house don’t gobble them up immediately, you can also freeze them and take them out individually whenever you need a breakfast or snack to go. They make a great kid-friendly lunchbox snack too! Continue reading
Changing your way of thinking is hard. Luckily for us, we met at a time in our lives where our own distinct, personal financial lifestyles had not yet been defined, and we spent a few years of trial and error figuring out what our common goals were. I used to take for granted that I wanted to have a successful professional career with matching salary, a big house, an expensive car, and all the designer handbags my heart desired.
I’ve mentioned before that we haven’t always been happy. What I mean is that we used to be really insecure in our pursuit of financial independence. When we first started on this path, family and friends questioned our decisions. They assumed we would eventually come to our senses and “treat ourselves” to the new sports car or dream home that we could, by most people’s standards, comfortably afford . The truth is, we have been tempted by shiny things. It is extremely difficult to resist what the world expects your success to look like. We both come from a culture where success is measured by what’s in your driveway and on your ring finger, not necessarily by what you accomplish. We found ourselves nearly constantly angry that people didn’t see our success for what it was, and were sick of being one-upped at parties by people with bigger debts than us. Continue reading
We’ve had to get pretty creative about food over the past few years. Steve works two-week shifts in a remote location, but stays in an off-site apartment instead of a work camp (read: no meals provided). When he started this job in 2013, we quickly learned how expensive and frankly hard to find food can be in a northern environment.
In our house, recipes fall into one of two categories: freezer-friendly and not freezer-friendly. While I still believe partially-prepared freezer meals requiring minor assembly are squarely the former category, Steve reserves that honor for foods that only require a couple of minutes in the microwave before he puts it in his mouth. These require little skill and few ingredients to prepare, and even less effort to reheat and inhale. You’re welcome.