Vegetable soup ingredients

10-14-2017The main focus of my shopping today was to get ingredients for my favorite vegetable soup. I didn’t end up having time to make it today but hopefully I will tomorrow. The soup has simple ingredients and I like to make a large batch that will last me for a few days. It’s really nice to have the soup available and to not need to cook quite as much. I will try and post the recipe when I make the soup.

I also did a mini shop later in the day where I bought some tomatoes, dairy-free pepper jack cheese and a 12 pack of sparkle water.

Total for today’s shopping: $33.15

Advertisements

Light shopping day

food 10-13-2017.JPGToday was a lighter shopping day. I try and eat salads as part of my lunch so I bought some lettuce and combined that with some tomato and garbanzo beans that I already had at home.

I recently bought a large toaster oven/mini oven and I’ve been making tortilla pizzas all week. I hadn’t had an oven in a long time so it’s been fun and novel to bake again. How I make tortilla pizzas: 1 brown rice tortilla + marinara sauce (spread thin) + dairy free cheese, then I broil until cheese is melted.

Tonight I’ll be having the black beans I made yesterday with brown rice and broccoli.

Today’s shopping:

  • Oranges: $1.64
  • Organic lettuce: $2.50
  • Sparkle water: $1.04
  • Dairy-free cheese: $3.99

Total: $9.25

Edit: I had some stress-eating this afternoon and bought cookies and candy, for $4.63 (not shown: Butterfinger bar)

food 2

New total: $13.88

Groceries, October 12

10-12-2017Today’s grocery shopping went well. I was focused on what I needed to buy and didn’t make too many impulse purchases. The only things not on my list were the cans of tomatoes, but those are helpful staples and they were on sale.

I’m trying a frugal new recipe today! Making black beans in the slow cooker!!

I’ve never made beans from scratch before I’ve always bought them in cans. The whole bag of beans (1 pound) was only $1.39 and it seems like it’s going to make a lot, which I can then save and freeze the leftovers. If this little kitchen test works out I could happily start saving money on beans by making them sometimes. Not always though…..canned beans are very convenient and really not too expensive.

Here is how I prepared them:

Slow cooker black beans

  • 1 pound black beans, rinsed, remove any little stones or bad looking beans, and soaked for 8 hours or overnight
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 cups water
  • 1-2 teaspoons (or to taste) sea salt — do not add until near the end of the cooking!!

Add all ingredients into slow cooker, except for salt. Add the salt the last 30 minutes of cooking. Turn on low and cook for 6-8 hours or until soft.

Here is my grocery shopping for the day:

  • Brown rice: $2.29
  • Black beans: $1.39
  • Canned tomatoes: $.69
  • Tomato sauce (2 cans) $.67
  • Tortilla chips: $2.50
  • Apples: $1.70
  • Onion: $.56
  • Garlic: $.69
  • Broccoli (not shown): $1.49

Total: $11.15

Grocery shopping after a short vacation

Hello there!

Whenever I travel I always like to use up as much of my perishable food as I can before I leave. I did a pretty good job this time and there were only a few things I needed to throw away, when I got back, such as some old lettuce.

I’m also recommitting myself to spending less on groceries and eating healthfully. These are both very important goals to me and really the main focus of this blog. Why? Because I really struggle with them and having a place to be accountable is awesome and will hopefully help me to reach my goals and maintain them.

My spending on groceries and eating at restaurants for the last few weeks has been very high, probably around $200-250/week. This is bad for my budget and much more than I want to spend. My goal is to get my grocery spending down to $100/week and hopefully a bit less eventually. Eating out is a tough one but I’ll figure it out as I go along.

I consider today Day 1 of recommitting myself to more goal-oriented and healthful grocery shopping and eating.

Here is my shopping from today. The total I spent was $19.96, pretty good I think for a lot of food! I bought grapes, almond milk, gluten-free tortilla wraps, zip close bags, limes, oven fries, sparkling waters, lettuce, broccoli and eggs.groceries1.JPG

Refreshing light salad

salad1I like this salad so much that I’ve made it every day this week! I really enjoy the cool, crispiness of the vegetables and the lemony dressing and I’ve been looking forward to eating it at lunch time with my sandwich*.

I had some cucumber, tomato, carrots and lemons in the fridge at home that I needed to use, so those make up the main ingredients. The only slightly special ingredient that I bought is daikon root, but that can easily be substituted for radishes if you’d like. I got a pretty good deal on daikon (it was cheaper than radishes) so that’s why I used it in the salad.

Salads of course are flexible, if you have other vegetables feel free to put them in! The more the merrier really.

It’s been a very hot summer the past few weeks so I’m appreciating cooler food all the more.

The salad dressing is super easy to make: all I do is take a lemon wedge and squirt it all over the salad. Then I drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil and then sprinkle a tiny bit of salt and pepper on top. If you want to make it extra fancy you can mix the lemon juice first with a bit of honey for a really nice sweetness.

*In case you’re curious, the sandwich I’ve been eating is a super simple non-dairy “grilled cheese”. It’s the simplest (laziest) version I could possibly come up with. All I do is toast some gluten-free bread, usually just one slice. Then when it’s cooled slightly I put it in the microwave with a slice of dairy free cheddar cheese on top and cook for about 30 seconds. I really love it, it tastes awesome and I don’t have to wash a pan afterwards which is a nice bonus.

Recipe:

Refreshing light salad

Serves 1

  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 1/3 cucumber, chopped
  • 2-3 radishes, or 3 inch piece of daikon root, shredded
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded

Dressing:

  • 1 or 2 lemon wedges
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all the vegetables in a bowl. Squeeze lemon over the vegetables and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

To make the honey dressing (optional), combine the lemon juice and honey together and then drizzle over the salad.

 

Easiest fried rice

rice.jpgThis is a great dish to make when you’re not really in the mood to cook but still want something healthy, filling and tasty.

This is how I was feeling last night…really not in the mood to cook.

When I’m feeling this way I often turn to dishes that I consider to be “semi-homemade.” I’ll use the base of something pre-made such as canned soup, chili or something yummy from the frozen section, and then add veggies and maybe some extra beans or meat to it.

Making food this way is almost always cheaper than getting take out or going to a restaurant and I can keep the ingredients on hand in the pantry or freezer, which is nice and convenient.

For last night’s dinner I heated up a bag of pre-made chicken fried rice in the microwave. Then I fried up 3 eggs for some extra protein (and they were really delicious!). For the veggies I boiled up some green beans and sliced a tomato. It was a fast, easy, delicious and super inexpensive dinner!!

 

Homemade popcorn recipe

popcorn3I love homemade popcorn, it’s quick and easy to make. It also has a nice slightly, roasted flavor and is very fresh.

If you have an air popper that is definitely the easiest way to make popcorn, but the “old school” method of cooking it in a saucepan is also easy and fun. It’s without a doubt healthier than microwave popcorn (although I love microwave popcorn also…no judgments).

One of my favorite things about homemade popcorn is that it’s an awesome frugal snack! I bought a nearly 2 pound bag of popcorn kernels for $1.75 and it’s lasted for a really long time. I only use a couple of tablespoons of seeds every time I make popcorn, I haven’t done the math but it’s probably around 5-10 cents for a full serving of popcorn. Compared to microwave popcorn: I usually get three bags of popcorn to a box for about $2.50. That means each full serving is about 83 cents. It doesn’t break the bank of course but 10 cents is certainly better!

Popcorn is a great canvas for flavors. I like mine pretty basic with just oil (or butter) and salt, but you can get really creative and add herbs, spices, cheeses (parmesan is a good one), nuts, wasabi, sriracha, hot sauce, chocolate, dried fruit, and more. Here are a few more fun ideas.

  1. How I make my popcorn: First things first, be very careful!! Never open the saucepan lid facing towards you in case a hot kernel flies into your eye! I always wear clear glasses, or even sunglasses.
  2. In a cold saucepan add about a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil (mmm…olive oil…). Next, add about 2-3 tablespoons of popcorn kernels. Put the lid on.
  3. Turn the heat onto medium and as the oil is heating gently shake the popcorn so that the kernels get coated in oil.
  4. As the kernels begin to pop shake the saucepan gently when needed. You can give the popcorn a little air by lifting the the lid slightly facing away from you.
  5. When the kernels are all popped, pour into a bowl and dress the popcorn how you like!! 🙂 Just be sure to be careful of “late popping kernels” — watch your eyes!