So in high school my family lived 25 minutes away from Durham and I never spent any appreciable time here. My thoughts on Durham were that it was sketchy and to be avoided. Well apparently there is some sketch factor but people are working hard towards gentrification and I think they’re doing a stand up job.
Chris and I walked around downtown for the first time a few weeks ago when his mother was in town. Granted we walked around at lunch time on a Saturday but it’s an incredibly charming downtown area and if it weren’t for the many many empty buildings I would have assumed it was a thriving upscale metropolis. Everything is nice, clean, the whole industrial area has been restored, the ball park glitters, and most of the shops and restaurants are spiffy and beyond our price point at this point in our lives.
Another weekend we walked around and stumbled upon a pretty fun festival at a local brewery celebrating their one year anniversary. Our goal was to make friends but apparently we’re too shy and awkward, although one guy did try to pick me up. He said he was training his dog to be attracted to pretty women, when I started petting his dog he said he was only interested in training him to spot women without wedding rings and led him away.
It still has a ways to go since I would guess the commercial slots are at 25% capacity but I’m definitely rooting for downtown Durham and think it could be a great place for us. We have a pipe dream of restoring one of the beautiful historic homes downtown but that’s not an immediate goal so we’ll have to wait that one out!
Well last Tuesday marked our 1 monthiversary and it simultaneous felt super short and as if we’d actually been married forever. We’re still working on ironing out the rhythm of day to day life and the challenges that working and living together for the first time pose.
The only real challenge is how much time is left at the end of the day. Chris can more or less set his own hours so he just bases them on my schedule. I have to be at work at 7 which means that I leave the house at 6 which means we wake up at 5. I then work 10 hours minimum, leave at 5:30, and get home around 6:30 at the absolute earliest. At first we would throw together a pre-planned dinner, eat, and find that it was time to sleep. Before 2 weeks had passed we decided to ditch the whole making dinner thing and use only crock pot meals. This has been working really well but a lot of times there is a lot of chopping of vegetables involved in the recipes and it becomes a lot in the mornings.
So Mom sent me a link to the blog of a woman who only cooks once a month. She does 1 big cooking day and makes meals that can be frozen and then defrosted as necessary. I can’t even imagine how intense that one day is. Anyway, she recently experimented with making meals that could be frozen and then tossed in the crock pot. She included 3 recipes and I tried 2 of them out this afternoon. I completely forgot that I could have done all the chopping in the food processor so I spent an hour or so watching TV and chopping veggies and then tossed them in zip lock baggies with spices, meat, and sauces. It was super easy, didn’t involve any actual cooking, and now I have 4 meals. (2 for this week, 2 for 2 weeks from now.) Our goal is to have 4 prepared meals a week, at least one of which must be a non-cooked salad, and the we eat leftovers for lunches, Friday, and any weekend meals that we’re around. This week we’ll have chicken salad sandwiches (I also made chicken salad today), BBQ chicken, curry chicken, and a pesto salad. The ideal plan if I can find enough recipes would be to cook every other week. So for 4 weeks we would have repeating meals every other week. At first it means I’ll need to cook 2 weekends in a row, this and next, but it could end up saving a ton of time without sacrificing a home cooked meal! I’m very pleased.
Each meal is enough for the 2 of us to eat for dinner and lunch the next day and I also made chicken broth from the chicken I used for the chicken salad and vegetable bits and pieces I’ve been saving. (When I cut off the head of a carrot or pepper I toss it in a zip lock bag in the freezer so I always have veggies on hand for stuff like that.) The problem with the chicken broth is I wanted to separate it into 2 cups per bag but all I had were 2 gallon bags so they look rather pathetic.
I’ve also heard that a full freezer saves energy, so this is basically a win-win-win situation! Hopefully everything turns out to be good!