my adventures with plastic shopping bags, kefir cheese, and ice cream

I love ice cream in a hot summer day – there is something child-like about it that makes me look at the world with the eyes of an 8 years old. I love this feeling of carelessness, pure joy, and being in the moment ๐Ÿ™‚

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My aim to reduce the shopping bags at my home and not picking up new ones continues with 80-90% success. There were times that I had to get the bags at stores, but at least I do not have an over-flowing amount of them in my kitchen drawer anymore. I am determined to keep only around 20 or so of them at home to use as garbage bin liner, but not more than that.ย 

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And I have been trying kefir cheese for some time. I think I have had my forth one this week. You simply collect 700-1000 ml kefir, pour down a strainer lined by a clean cloth (not necessarily a cheese cloth), and put the strainer in a large bowl where the strainer will have some room (so that the strained liquid will collect at the bottom of the bowl away from the strainer), and place the assembly in the fridge over night. The majority of the whey would have drained until then. You can also gently squeeze the curds/cloth to remove extra liquid.

One can eat this – it is delicious, but if you are looking for a thicker one, then change the cloth (cheese cloth is fine now as the curds are large enough so that they will not be strained through the cheese cloth), and place in the fridge. I found that at that point the liquid drainage is not strong enough and the majority of the draining is actually made by the cloth. So change it frequently to encourage further removal of whey. I sometimes place the cheese/curds between two plastic tubs (the one at the bottom would have holes in it to help drainage) and put weight on the top tub to encourage further drainage. But, I find that this is not necessarily an efficient and practical solution, so I rather change the cloth as it gets wet to help it thicken. It is that simple.

Use it as it is, or mix with herbs or even fruits (like mushy berries or banana).

My next trial will be a ricotta made by milk and whey; cannot wait! ๐Ÿ™‚

Healthy and fun to do!

Bon appetite!

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Tuesday already..

It is Tuesday already….The long weekends make the week quite short. A three day long weekend and a shorter week following it. What do you say? Double win! :))))

We have a great day today, which is supposed to chill down tomorrow. My windows are open. There is something nice about walking through the front of the windows and feeling the cool fresh air on your skin. All these things that I am grateful for during Summer ๐Ÿ™‚ Add this list the ice cream and imagine how happy I can be ๐Ÿ™‚

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I have some serious work to do within the next 3 months. This means I gotta organize myself well and use my time like a tiger. I must focus on this…. Doing what matters most. It is a challenge for me to do select things rather than everything in my list, but we all will see how this will go. Who knows? maybe I will do this ๐Ÿ™‚

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In our interactions with a unit in my organization, we have been having some mis-communications and rejections only because of mis-understanding and lack of standards/clarity. I volunteered to work in that unit/committee with the hope of improving things and also my own understanding. I fear that they will not approve it, but if they do, then this will be awesome. You know I applied for a job last week with mixed feelings, and I wanted to note what I really like about my current job: this freedom to decide myself to undertake new things, and ability to learn new stuff is what make this job really unique and beneficial for my own development. Totally awesome! There is not any other job that can provide me with such a ย great mental stimulation. It will be hard to leave this job.

Good to know! ๐Ÿ™‚

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semi-annual budget check

Now that almost 6 months have passed, I wanted to have a look at what I had budgeted and what I had spent. ย Main numbers for variable expenses (i.e. not including the bills, mortgage etc.) are as follows:

1. I spend around $66/week for groceries, occasional cab and eating out.ย 

2. I so far have not over-spent my weekly allowance that covers the expenses listed above ($120/week budgeted)

3. However, I spent $232 for cab so far – the majority of the time I could take the bus or walk. That bothers me, but I must let go.

4. My “other”expenses including socials, treats, donations, gifts, medication/other health related expenses, personal care (such as hair cut), hobby/sewing notions, clothes, and cleaning product purchases constitute a higher amount than my “weekly allowance” expenses: a total of $2,281 or $88/week (averaged) so far. I have budgeted a total of $6,500 for this year.ย 

5. My total expenses per week (weekly allowance and “other” expenses together) come to a total of $154/week (on the average)

6. I also save by following the discounts, using coupons/loyalty card points, etc. This amounts to $1,899 so far – $73/week ย (which is an amazing amount, by the way)ย 

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So some categories are doing awesome, others need some more careful thinking, but overall these are very good numbers.

This year’s budget has been really good and I have been doing really awesome – so let’s go get that ice cream!

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