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Monday, January 27: Day 280 – New Beginnings

Rob’s eyes are much better so we are a little more mobile. I am still waking up very early, before 5am. I think one thing that will help is to get more exercise. I have gone from walking over 10 miles every day to being more sedentary. My pants are a little tighter, too.

I have been reading about the feasibility of purchasing groceries at coop/bulk stores. How does it work? What kind of mental adjustments does it take from years of ingrained grocery shopping patterns?

If one wants to begin to eliminate unnecessary waste, begin with the end in mind. How will you transport your groceries home? For me, this is the hardest habit to break even when we are traveling. Empty the backpack before grocery shopping and bring a few extra plastic bags.

This one is like the first: bring containers that you will fill with items. One can bring containers to the store and have them weighed for a tare weight prior to filling.

There was a co-op bulk store just up the street so we decided to do some research. That is Rob’s middle name!!!

Here is what we found: The only items that I could purchase would be flour, oatmeal, nuts, grains, rice, spices, nutbutters, shampoos and soaps.

For me, purchasing spices here would be better. For example, I might have a recipe that calls for tumeric. I have never used this spice so I must run to the store and buy a whole bottle for $5. Odds are that I will never use that spice again. On the flip side, Rob rightly points out that one would not drive 20 minutes to do this. Agreed.


Since Rob’s eyes are good, we have been invited to Donna’s house for lunch. She has allergies to beef so has learned to make many favorite recipes using other meats. Today is one that we named Taco Mess. For Rob and me, it was a delicious taste of home. Here is Donna posing at the entrance of her home.

Nathan has a woodshop on their property and has started a small business called Woodworks by Nathan. See some of his amazing creations on Facebook. Here is a picture of him hard at work.

Nathan is creating many items for sale at his first craft show and prior to the arrival of Baby Girl.

He makes clocks, picnic tables, cell phone holders, headboards, coasters, bedside tables, wooden spoons, and entry room benches. And this is just the beginning. He has been hired to make a custom wardrobe.

My personal favorite is the magnetic key holder. When we actually have a set of keys, I will be buying one.

We left Nathan to his work and went to a mall to do some much needed mall walking. Donna wanted to get out and exercise as well.

Then we kidnapped Donna and took her to our place, watched a little TV (we both like to watch the old Twilight Zone episodes), and then made a big batch of White Chili Chicken.


Donna and Nathan met while attending Wheaton College. Donna was on the cross country team. They were coming through town and Donna said that our house was halfway. Could we host lunch? How exciting that she asked me to do this? Now what do I serve? What can I make in large quantities? There were about 25 people. What will be healthy for the runners? Soup, salad and bread. Everyone loved it and one girl even wanted the recipe.

White Chili

1 c. onion, chopped
2 T. oil

2 t. Tabasco sauce (Donna doesn’t like this added)
1 t. pepper (white if you have it)
½ t. salt
2 t. cumin
½ t. oregano
¼ t. garlic powder
10 oz. can Cream of chicken soup
2 cans Butter beans, drained
2 cans Great Northern beans, not drained
2 cans shoepeg corn, not drained
2 4 ½ oz. can chopped green chilies
1 can Swansons’ Chicken broth (or use homemade broth)
3 cups cubed cooked chicken

In a large soup pot, saute onion in oil until tender. Add spices and the cream of chicken soup. Mix until smooth. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.


We had a filling dinner and brought the meal to Nathan. There was even more for a future meal. It freezes nicely.

If I make this in the future, I will need to learn how to make it using dry beans, etc. because the can graveyard is scary!!

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