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Old 11-18-2013, 01:40 PM   #121
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Congratulation on the weight loss W2R. What do you order when you eat out?
Thank you! It varies but usually involves grilled chicken, or sometimes boiled shrimp. We determine what looks like the most Weight Watchers friendly thing on the menu other than a salad, and order that, split it in half, and he gets the carbs, and sometimes we take some of it home. We don't get appetizers, deserts, wine, or other extras, and I just order water to drink.

We don't consider everything on the menu as a possibility. Since the menu is not our "playground", usually there are only one, or maybe two choices we would even consider.
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Old 11-18-2013, 01:53 PM   #122
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I definitely agree. I eat less when I eat at home. I don't eat out more than once a week, not because my wallet can't afford it, it's my waistline that can't. I stay fairly vigilant to keep myself in shape, and since I am a "plate cleaner" restaurants would make me fat in no time. I guess I have some "low rent" blood in me, because I prefer cheap junk food over "good healthy" food. If I didn't have any discipline or were not cognizant of the impact food choices make on your health, I would have a short food rotation of potato chips, hamburgers, pizza, pasta, snack cakes, and candy.
Agree. I would love to be able to eat in restaurants several times a week but I don't have the willpower to order just a salad or eat only half of the meal. And my groceries would cost less if I ate junk food. I buy the more expensive healthy foods so I do not feel so deprived. Am envious of my co-workers who go out to lunch every day and eat burgers and fries or pizza while I sit at my desk eating skinless chicken breast, brown rice, a salad, fresh fruit, and skim milk. (Co-workers are going out at lunch to get a quick, reasonably priced meal and our office is not in a nice part of town with good restaurants so generally limited to fast food). But I've lost 40 pounds in the last two years and am struggling to keep the weight off. And I do feel better than when I was lugging all that weight around.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:11 PM   #123
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OP: I think that your question has been answered nicely by the above posters. Everybody with children reports significantly higher expenses for food and people who are retired also find that they have more time for home cooking. Three quarters of SNAP families have children and two thirds of SNAP families are working. It takes a lot more calories and protein to grow a child than it does to maintain one of us old you-know-whats.

As a child, my DH received food stamps, Medicaid paid hospitalizations, and college grants and scholarships and for years now he has paid 6 and 7 figure tax bills. The money that paid for his childhood food has been paid back and then some. Think of SNAP as an investment. It's actually a pretty good one.

I have to go now. We're off to the country club for lunch. It's really cheap ... kinda.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:20 PM   #124
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So, I am back already after a quick run to WholeFoods, where it was rumored that one could find bomba rice to make authentic paella. In my corner of town, I have access to dozen of grocery stores within a few miles. This Whole Foods store is only 4 mi away for example, and Costco is just 2 mi away.

Nope, no such luck. Arborio rice is what they carry, but every store carries that. I did a bit better with chorizo sausage. Not imported, but made in USA to Spanish style. Hmmm... It's more expensive than the typical Mexican chorizo, so it's better be good.

Perhaps I will make fideua instead. I have made this before, and my guests liked it.

Anyway, perhaps the most important reason I cook at home is that I like a variety of dishes. Not just variety of produce and fruits and meats which we do eat, but of dishes. When I feel like having Tomates Farcies, how do I look up which restaurants in town have that simple dish, and how far do I have to drive to get there? And when I make Cioppino, I do not scrimp on Dungeness crab like restaurants do.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:27 PM   #125
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Hmmm... It's more expensive than the typical Mexican chorizo, so it's better be good.
They aren't even remotely similar. Spanish chorizo is a dry sausage meant to be grilled in the casing, Mexican chorizo is a soft mix that essentially uses the casing to hold it until you push it out onto the skillet, often to be mixed with eggs. Also, if these differences are not enough, the spices are completely different. Much Mexican chorizo sold in US supermarkets has a plastic casing.

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Old 11-18-2013, 02:30 PM   #126
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I have never had Mexican chorizo. As the touch was mushy, I knew it was not right.

Anyway, I have made paella and fideua without the sausage, so this time it's a step up.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:31 PM   #127
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The food can be reasonably priced, but the alcohol bill is what gets me...
There's a lot of truth to that. Still, if we're going to bother jumping in the car and going out to dine, we like to have an enjoyable experience. Splitting a meal (esp where DW gets the good stuff and I get the carbs!) and washing it down with a glass of water probably wouldn't appeal enough to us to bother making the trip.

We ate at a local Mexican restaurant yesterday. Our town has a large Hispanic population and we have a wide selection of Hispanic ethic restaurants from which to choose, almost all independents.

In round numbers, we spent $18 on two entrees ($8.95 ea if I recall) and had one Carta Blanca each which cost $6 (beer of the month on sale for $3 a bottle). So, skipping any appetizer or dessert and holding the beer bill to a minimum, we spent $24 plus $4 tip = $28 for the two of us.

It was a good meal and worth the trip. We would have enjoyed a margarita before dinner, perhaps split a dessert afterwards, and, of course, the more interesting entrees were priced in the low teens but we wanted to keep the bill down.

As I said, it's just tough to dine out in this neck of the woods without spending over $30 and having the experience be worth the trouble vs. just whipping up something quick and simple at home. And, yes, alcohol is a big factor. If you enjoy a cocktail before and a glass of wine with dinner, you really need to think about dining at home.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:38 PM   #128
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I have never had Mexican chorizo. As the touch was mushy, I knew it was not right.

Anyway, I have made paella and fideua without the sausage, so this time it's a step up.
I basically lived on breakfasts of juevos revueltos con chorizo when I first moved to LA and lived on Brooklyn Avenue in Boyle Heights. I often fed it to my kids too, with rice and beans alongside. They loved it; it was our Saturday morning special. Don't make the mistake of reading the ingredients. Lymph nodes are prominently featured.




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Old 11-18-2013, 02:40 PM   #129
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We do not eat out every week. So when we do go out, I do not mind spending $100+ for two.

And speaking of hamburgers, at the end of 2-week trips in Europe, I never had a McDonald hamburger that tasted that good! So do not knock them. You don't miss them until you can't have them.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:43 PM   #130
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If you enjoy a cocktail before and a glass of wine with dinner, you really need to think about dining at home.
Aha, I've found my problem...

Beer is often less expensive. A small pub where a buddy and I often wind down on Friday evening has $2.50 Shiner Bock. Wine is more like $8 there, and usually even more at "finer " restaurants.

So, $12 for one glass, or $12 per bottle at home. Hmmm?
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:01 PM   #131
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Aha, I've found my problem...
indeed!

When I said "a" cocktail and "a" glass of wine, I was trying to understate the scenario a bit. Don't want the FIRE forum folks thinkin' I'm a lush........

I went to a local sports bar with some fellow MegaCorp retired geezers yesterday to watch the Bears game. We picked the place because they serve a great, free pizza buffet at half time. As you probably heard, Illinois had tornadoes and storms yesterday. The game was suspended for two hours before half time. Therefore we were at the bar a long time, about noon to 5:00 PM.

Long story short, I ran up a $35 beer bill! The fact the pizza was free (and great stuff!) helped but the beer bill was the telling story.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:13 PM   #132
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We do not eat out every week. So when we do go out, I do not mind spending $100+ for two.
There's the clue........ Eat out less often and really enjoy it when you do. From time to time, that plan works for us.

For example, this past September DW and I camped in Yellowstone for a week. We ate all meals except one at our campsite and thought that was just fine. But we made reservations and ate one terrific meal (with wonderful ambiance) at the Old Faithful Inn where we spent $130. Cocktails on the deck overlooking Old Faithful before dinner. A bottle of wine with dinner. An Irish coffee at the bar after dinner. Decent food at dinner. It was a really great experience.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:13 PM   #133
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Well, I take that back. I do go to casual dining places too. About once or twice a year, I would have a craving for a shredded-beef chimichanga. While I probably can learn to make it, it would take a lot of work and not worthwhile unless I make enough for an army. So, I do go to a Mexican joint to get my fix.

And one time I suddenly wanted some Indian food. I can make simple curry dishes, but there are other dishes too. So, I called up my daughter on a Friday, picked her up at work and we had some quality time together for lunch at a local Indian buffet. I had my craving for Indian spices satiated for a while. It's just not worthwhile for me to make goat curry at home.

Ah, such impromptu things are what make life more fun. I can see myself calling my daughter up and do another Indian lunch soon.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:21 PM   #134
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Well, that paella or fideua (not sure what to make yet) will have to wait till this weekend, so that my son and daughter can share it with us. And I still have that lamb shank waiting...

But for dinner tonight, it will be stuffed cabbage. I just picked up a can of sauerkraut for that too. Some recipes call for sauerkraut, some don't. I just feel like putting some in this time.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:39 PM   #135
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I basically lived on breakfasts of juevos revueltos con chorizo ...

Don't make the mistake of reading the ingredients. Lymph nodes are prominently featured.
I do eat organ meat occasionally, like calf liver or "head cheese" (no, head cheese does not have brain like many think). I have made Pâté and terrine. I once ordered a kidney meat pie in Australia.

But lymph nodes? Hmmm... This is worthy of some research.
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:27 PM   #136
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I stand pat on my statement- there is something a little unusual about millionaires eating on a budget very similar to SNAP recipients. It is absurd to categorize this as "living to eat". If I were living to eat, I wouldn't weigh the same as I did in high school.

If people with plenty money prefer to save it, or spend it on travel, hooray for them. But there is no inherent virtue in this stance.

Ha
Are we possibly confusing eating a diet heavy in produce, rice, beans and nuts, which is economical by default, not design, with what some else referred to as an artery clogging diet of poor quality, cheaply processed foods?

Millionaire or no, I see no problems with the first, and millionaire or no, I see big problems with the second.
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:29 PM   #137
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Away in Oregon all summer and what did I miss from down in La Quinta? In n' Out Burger. The two of us go and a couple cheeseburgers with grilled onion and an order of fries, medium well done, two waters comes to $6.50. But they do them so well! - Plump buns, lovely tomato and lettuce, good meat, just the right size.... perfect. Expensive food needs to impress me, and it normally doesn't.
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:38 PM   #138
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Ewww!!! If you are going to eat a burger, why not just cook up a couple at home like NW-Bound? I can't eat that type of food.
Well, it contains one of the four basic food groups. You know, sugar, salt, fat and alcohol.

While I don't do it often I do like a bit fat burger once in a while.
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:40 PM   #139
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We also don't order just *anything* we want on the menu; that would be a fast way to extra pounds too. I have lost 42 pounds since last spring, while eating lunch out every single day. For me, wise choices and portion control are more important for weight loss than whether I eat at a restaurant or at home. Eating sensibly at restaurants also keeps the cost down.
Great results, W2R! DH and I are working on controlling/losing weight ourselves, following Weight Watchers. DH is within 10 pounds of goal and I have, ahem, more to go. We just talked about the above this week.

The past 6 months we haven't been losing much weight (not gaining, just sort of staying in place). DH pointed to the fact that we had moved from eating out twice a week to 3 OR 4 times. I told him I didn't really think it was that. Rather it was not making as good choices. We happened to be at Chili's at the time. I pointed out that there are plenty of things at Chili's (or Panera - another favorite) that I could eat every day and still stay within my WW points. That day, I went in and scanned the nutritional information for Chili's (on my iPad) and just didn't even look at things beyond the amount of calories I wanted to eat. I know when I go there that there are 5 or 6 things that I can eat every day with no problem. Same thing at Panera. I could eat there every day as long as I stick with the several things that work well for me (usually a pick 2 with a salad and soup or rarely a lesser calorie sandwich).

So it isn't the eat out a lot that causes weight gain (or not losing). It is eating out a lot without making the best choices.
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Old 11-18-2013, 05:17 PM   #140
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Away in Oregon all summer and what did I miss from down in La Quinta? In n' Out Burger. The two of us go and a couple cheeseburgers with grilled onion and an order of fries, medium well done, two waters comes to $6.50. But they do them so well! - Plump buns, lovely tomato and lettuce, good meat, just the right size.... perfect. Expensive food needs to impress me, and it normally doesn't.
To each there own, and I suppose In n Out beats most fast food burgers, but I'd give Five Guys the nod. Fuddrucker's is slightly more pricey, but better than both, and they have bison burgers, if you're into really lean meat.

Though plump buns are a good thing...
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