I am one of the many underemployed. That is not to say that I am struggling like some of my fellow man, but I do have to watch where the money goes and be sure it goes to the things that are the most vital. Like food. Making every cent count is not a new concept, but it is one I found to be challenging. Sometimes that challenge is fun and rewarding, other times it can be a stumbling block that sends you in to a head first fall.
A point came late last month where I had to tighten my belt and readdress my situation at hand. I checked the larder and discovered I have plenty of stuff to eat. Two cups of olive oil, roughly two cups of balsamic vinegar; a half of a jar of peanut butter; a half jar of jam; six eggs; some dried linguini pasta; a can of soup; a tin of sardines; three frozen tilapia filets; a round of unopened gouda; half a brick of cream cheese; a head of romaine lettuce; a crown of broccoli; one sweet potato; one carrot; 12 spears of asparagus; an avocado; half a loaf of spelt bread (roughly seven slices); two tortillas; a can of refried beans; a can of fire roasted tomatoes; a can of tomato paste; a grapefruit; a lemon; an onion, and several cloves of garlic. Over a dozen bottles of wine, plenty of tea bags and coffee; roughly a pint of almond milk, enough shredded wheat for two more mornings, and — I discovered $21.00 in cash in my wallet. I vowed I would live off that food for as long as I could,only resorting to using the $21.00 in the direst of emergencies.
I first started by looking at the serving size on everything that had a label. Then I measured out those proportions. I put twist ties around the linguini so that I only grabbed a serving size out of the box. I knew what amount equaled a serving of tomato paste and diced tomatoes, and wrote in black sharpie on the label, making it easier to see. That gave me an amazing five servings, FIVE! I could eat the pasta meal consisting of garlic and onion sautéed in olive oil, fire roasted tomatoes, and tomato paste for five meals. I was elated.
I roasted all the hard vegetables (sweet potato, carrot, asparagus, half the cloves of garlic and half the onion, and the broccoli, then divided them up into cup sized proportions with roughly one sixth of the vegetables in one cup, then put them in plastic containers to be heated throughout the week. That gave me three servings. Those would be pared with my tilapia frozen fish filets. Okay, now that all the prep was finished, I was ready to see if I could make this work.
I decided I would eat what would spoil quickest. Didn’t want anything to go to waste. I ate a bowl of shredded wheat with almond milk. That gave me plenty of energy to keep working on a couple of my short stories. I have one that is already published, another in the hand’s of my publisher, one published as a free read, and one out in search of a publisher.
I try to work on one storyline per week. With several works in progress, I need the weekend to shake loose the previous week’s work and concentrate on one of the other works. That is my routine. One week a short story, the next week the novel, followed by the short story and so on… This particular week I was working on a short story to be submitted and hopefully chosen, for an anthology to be published late this summer. So, thoughts in my head, and breakfast cheerfully eaten, I sat down to write.
Lunch was a tortilla wrap with a fifth of the avocado smeared over the wrap, lettuce and one sixth of the gouda cheese, and one egg white. I saved the egg yolk for the pasta. The writing was going well. I managed nearly 3,000 words that morning alone. The theme of the anthology was Going For Gold, short stories with an Olympic bent. I chose my sport and the characters, and found the story coming at breakneck speed.
Supper that night was one serving of vegetables reheated in the microwave, and one pan fried tilapia fish filet. Each meal was served with eight ounces of water, with four ounces of wine served with supper. I felt pretty good about the whole day. The meals, and the writing. I closed my laptop, made a cup of tea, then grabbed my Kindle and headed for bed.
Day One over.