The first hike of the year and a frugal Valentine’s weekend

As much as I love romance, chocolate, and flowers, we just aren’t the couple that puts a lot of thought into Valentine’s Day celebrations. I’d rather eat a nice dinner and then go out for dessert than get all gussied up for a dinner out at an expensive restaurant, and luckily for me Mr. M&M feels the same. Since Valentine’s day fell on a Saturday this year, and it’s our first one as a marriage couple, I figured it would be fun to try a few new dishes and make a special dinner at home. One of my favorite cookbooks is Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi. He’s also published the vegetarian-based cookbooks Plenty and Plenty More, which I’ve heard are fabulous and desperately want to get my hands on. Since I had all day to plan and cook I settled on four dishes: Eggplant with fried onion, feta and lemon, swiss chard with tahini yogurt sauce, cous cous with tomato and onion, and salmon with spicy tomato sauce. In total it cost us $72, but fed both of us for two nights so it only ended up being $18 per person and a lot less expensive than going out to eat. It was all incredibly delicious, took about 3 hours to cook and 15 minutes to eat, and Mr. M&M declared it to be “the best dinner you have ever made”. I’ll take that as a Valentine’s Day win!

v day dinner

After dinner we headed to Old School Frozen Custard for a small chocolate ice cream (me) and a muddy buddy (him) and proceeded to spend the rest of the night in a food coma.

Aside from our Valentine’s feast we also have been taking advantage of the gorgeous weather that Seattle has suddenly sprung on us. Sunday I went running with the usual group of girls that I’ve coerced into slowly jogging with me at various locations throughout the city, and perused the farmer’s market. Later that day we met up with my sister and brother-in-law at the Fremont brewery to enjoy the sunshine and sample some brews. One of the great things about Seattle are the local breweries that can be found in nearly every neighborhood, and the fact that they sell their beer for around $5 a pint. It was great to be outside enjoying our beers and catching up with our family.

On Monday we both took the day off and got up early to go on a 6 mile hike outside of the city. We were dog-sitting that morning and took the pup on the hike with us which made it even more fun. A lot of the local hikes around here are either on state or federal land, which means that there is usually a fee that needs to be paid in order to fund the upkeep and maintenance of all the trails. For $35 we bought an annual Discover Pass, which is quite the deal when you consider the daily passes are $11. The views were beautiful, the weather was perfect, and we were rewarded with a huge waterfall at the end. My legs are definitely sore from running and hiking, but it feels so good to be back outside stretching out my legs and working those muscles.

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For the entire 3-day weekend we only spent money on:

  • Groceries for V-day ($72)
  • Gas ($28)
  • Annual Discover Pass ($35)
  • Beer ($10)

Total: $145

That may seem like a lot to those who are focusing on cutting out all necessary expenses, but I’ll still take this weekend as a frugal win. We did a great job figuring out where and why we wanted to spend our money, stretched our groceries for a few days, enjoyed the outdoors, and are now set to go hiking for the next year free of charge!

What did your weekend look like? Any Northwesterners enjoying the sunshine like we did?

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