In recent months, our eating hobby has really turned into more of an "eating-out hobby" and our home-cooked meals dwindled and became less than inspiring. I know, Dave Ramsey would be ticked at us for this development. It didn't help that we had discovered some really amazing places to eat around here AND we'd had numerous guests from out of town that we were wanting to show a good time and good food...I blame them and take no responsibility for those extra couple of lbs that mysteriously popped onto my scale over the summertime. Thanks a lot "friends".
A few weeks ago, we decided that we'd had enough of eating out. Well, not really. We just knew that we probably shouldn't be doing it so much and maybe our budget and waistlines could really use a break. Some of you are amazing and never eat out and I applaud you. I am even slightly jealous of your discipline. But that all is pushed out of my mind when I think of the chicken fajitas at La Casa Del Sazon or the pasta bolognese at Dametra Cafe or even a mustard-fried cheeseburger from In-N-Out. I like food. I also like leftovers and not cleaning the dishes.
Some friends of ours who suffer from this same weakness/lack of discipline/love for eating-out/growing waistlines challenged us to a "not eating out" competition a couple of weeks ago to help us all break our evil restaurant habit. No Starbucks, no restaurants (not even if someone else was buying!) and all food had to be cooked at home for two weeks. In the event that one family did choose to succumb to the siren song of restaurant food, they would be forced to buy the other family a very nice dinner AND be known as the big, fat losers. Brem's are not big, fat losers...just fyi.
I'm happy to announce that we survived! AND we have been inspired! AND Gavin magically lost FIVE pounds. AND we saved a billion dollars! Well, not really on that last one, but I'm sure it's somewhere in that ballpark.
I was seriously in a major cooking rut before this competition. The thrill of it all matched with pinterest recipes and a desire to use everything we already have in our fridge and cupboards (even the stuff hiding in the back of the pantry) mixed with the inspiration that comes from watching the Food Network has really turned the Brem fam into new (skinnier, richer) people. We are changed people, people!
Here are a few things that we've used these past couple of weeks that have been the inspiration to change...
(I didn't take this pic, it's the one from the site where I found the recipe)
*The BEST Marinara sauce we've ever made in the Brem household. Oh my. Found here. Easy peasey.
*We tried those squeeze tubes of fresh herbs that I always see in the produce section, but never give a second thought. They are awesome! They stay good in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
*Finally, we discovered our new favorite cooking show on the Cooking Channel. I didn't name it, so please don't think I did. It is HILARIOUS. It is called "Bitchin' Kitchen" and it is a must-see and has definitely inspired us to venture more into our kitchen.
We went grocery shopping before the competition started and besides a couple of trips to the store to grab 1 or 2 items, we did use almost everything we had. I love using everything we have! Things that have been hiding in the pantry are gone! And nothing goes to waste!
Here's a pic of our nearly empty fridge the day our competition ended...
Can't wait to go to Trader Joe's and fill er' up!
The competition ended this morning and I have no desire to eat out. Well, almost no desire. I am getting tired of those dishes.
Anybody have any tried and true "must-try" recipes for us recovering restaurant addicts?