As I sat down to write this post, I realized that it has been exactly two years since I first started this blog. Two years. I can’t really believe I’ve stuck with it for that long. I’m notorious for starting things and then giving them up before I’ve gotten very far.
Speaking of sticking with things (or not), I have a confession to make. I started 2011 with a goal to eat healthier and to exercise more. In January of 2011, I was about 10 lbs. heavier than I wanted to be. I blamed it on “baby weight” that I’d never lost (the “baby” was a year old at that time). I thought if I introduced more whole foods, cut back on the meat and dairy, and introduced some moderate exercise I would easily drop that 10 lbs. in no time.
Now we’re in January of 2012
and instead of having lost that extra 10 lbs. I’ve put on 20 more. There, I said it. I’m 30 lbs. overweight, and I hate it. I guess those 2011 goals didn’t really work out so well.
This year, I’m bound and determined to stick with it. I know – everyone is setting goals and making resolutions right now. It’s the thing to do. My most popular posts over the last few days have had to do with kale and greens and whole grains. People are looking to eat better and get healthy in the new year.
I’m doing a couple of things to help me along on my goals. First, I joined the Couch to 5k training program. I’ve never been a runner. In fact, I’ve kind of always hated running. In high school I would do whatever was necessary to avoid running in PE. I’m now almost done with week two of the nine week training program, and I can honestly say that I still hate running. BUT, I’m sticking with it. I suck at it, but I’m doing it. And I can tell I’m getting better at it, in teeny-tiny minute increments. So that’s something.
The second thing I’m doing is partnering with my local Harry’s Farmers Market to give my pantry a healthy makeover. Whole Foods, in their Whole Story blog, issued a $50 pantry makeover challenge. Their claim is that you can buy a list of pantry staples at Whole Foods (which I realize some people refer to as “whole paycheck”) for about $50. The items on the list are:
- 1 lb black beans
- 1 lb lentils
- 1 lb quinoa
- 2 lbs brown rice
- 3 (32-oz) boxes vegetable broth
- 1 (32-oz) box chicken broth
- 1 lb rolled oats
- 2 cans cannellini beans
- 1 lb orechiette pasta
- 1 lb pasta, your favorite kind
- 1 can black beans
- 1 jar unsweetened applesauce
- 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened soymilk
- 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened almondmilk
- 1 (5-oz) can tuna
- 3 (15-oz) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 package no-oil sundried tomatoes
- 1 jar pasta sauce
Whole Foods is running a contest through the end of January to give away five grand-prize packages of a year’s worth of pantry staples and a pantry makeover. They’re also giving away 31 pantry stock-ups valued at $50 each. All you have to do is leave a comment on the post on the blog.
Harry’s contacted me to see if I wanted to participate in the challenge. They offered to either provide me with a $50 gift card that I could personally use for the challenge, or that I could give away to one of my readers. I decided to take the challenge on my own, just to see if I could really buy everything on the list for around $50, and to save the gift card for one of you.
Today I went to Harry’s armed with my list and a few coupons that I’d printed off of their website. My shopping trip took a little over an hour (mostly because I had a hard time finding canned-tuna and sundried tomatoes), but in the end I wound up spending less than $45 for the items on the list.
I had four coupons for $1 off various items, and I got two $.10 bag credits. Even if I hadn’t had the coupons and the bags, my total would have been right around $50. I did make a couple of substitutions: I got two cartons of almond milk instead of one almond and one soy (I don’t do soy milk), and I purchased two 28-oz. cans of tomatoes instead of three 15-oz. cans. I also accidentally got an extra bag of rice that added $1.99 to my total.
That’s a lot of food. I’m not sure it will last us the whole month, but we’ll certainly try. I plan to keep you all updated on our progress here on the blog, and to include recipes for things that we make with these ingredients. I figure that all of these pantry staples paired with the produce I get from the Rockin’ S Farms CSA I recently joined and the meat I get from Riverview Farms should get us pretty far.
For lunch today, I made this recipe for Tuscan Tuna Salad from the Whole Foods website. I served mine on a bed of mixed greens that I got in this week’s CSA bag (spicy mustard greens were a very nice addition) with some whole-grain crackers on the side. I highly recommend it.
For dinner, I chose this recipe for Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sundried Tomatoes and White Beans. I subbed broccoli from our garden for the broccoli rabe, but otherwise I followed the recipe to the letter. Even my kids liked it. My husband and I ate ours with a mixed-green salad on the side and there was plenty left over for lunch tomorrow. The key (in my opinion) is adding the water from the reconstituted tomatoes along with the pasta water at the end. So good.
Okay, here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for. Because the blog is two, because I’m determined to stick with my goals this year, and mostly just because I appreciate you all so much, I’m teaming up with Harry’s Farmers Market to give one of you a $50 Whole Foods Gift card that you can use to make over your own pantry (the gift card can be used at any Whole Foods store). Here’s how you can enter to win:
Tell me in the comments what your New Years resolution was this year. Are you going to stick to a budget for the first time ever? Are you going to get a pedicure every two weeks? Is your goal to read the Harry Potter series from start to finish before 2013? Whatever the goal, let me know and you’ll be entered to win.
You can also tweet the following: I want to win a $50 Whole Foods Gift card from @HFM_Alpharetta and @lifeinrecipes: http://bit.ly/AsEio7.
Do either of those things between now and 12:00 PM Eastern time on January 30, 2012 and you’ll be entered to win. Do both to be entered twice. Limited to two entries (one here, one on twitter) per person, please. I’ll announce a winner on January 31.