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

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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.

 

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!

Food budget Friday, May 12

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My food spending went pretty well this week! My budget is $100 and this week I spent $72. Each week is different but I love to see that number go down. Woohoo!!

I wasn’t skimpy on the groceries either. I bought healthy food such as veggies, beans and rice but also a lot of fun foods like chips, chocolate pudding, and seltzer water. I assume if I bought less treat foods that my grocery bill would go down a lot more. But what is life without a few treats?

I went out to eat fast food a few times and I spent around $10. That number is included in my weekly total.

Want to see some of the groceries I bought? Here is my shopping from May 6 and May 11.

I hope you have a beautiful and blessed day!!

Having a friend over for dinner + grocery shopping

groceriesMy husband and I are having a friend over for dinner tonight so I’m just starting to cook! This is the first friend we’ve had over for dinner at our new place so that’s pretty cool 🙂 The rice is boiling away so it’s giving me a few minutes to write up a quick blog post.

We’re having a pretty simple menu tonight: rice, turkey sausage, black beans, and veggies.  For dessert we’re having strawberries and whipped topping. I like whipped topping because it’s nondairy and low in calories but still love the taste.

Today’s groceries were mostly for the meal tonight but the granola bars were a bonus.

I bought:

  • Black beans
  • Rice
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Granola bars
  • Turkey sausage
  • Whipped topping
  • Frozen veggies

The price was excellent on these groceries. The total today was: $9.03 The per meal cost for each person person is going to be around $3. This is definitely less expensive than eating at a restaurant!

What are you having for dinner?

I hope you have a blessed day!! ❤

Slow cooker lentil soup

soup2This week I’m trying out some light meal planning, particularly for lunch. I never quite know what to eat and too often I end up buying fast food. My fast food lunches aren’t that expensive, usually about $3.75, but I know I can eat healthier and cheaper when I make food myself.

So for the next few days I’m going to try and have homemade soup and salad for lunch and see how that goes. Maybe a sandwich sometimes if I need some extra food.

Early this afternoon I made a pot of lentil vegetable soup in my slow cooker. I’ve never made soup before using the crockpot so it was a bit of an experiment. I just tried it and it’s pretty good! Basically you just put all the ingredients in and set it to cook for 7-8 hours, it’s very easy. Here is the recipe 🙂

Slow cooker lentil soup

  • 8 ounces brown lentils (1/2 of a one pound bag), rinsed
  • 5 cups water or chicken broth
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes (omit if using broth)
  • Tomato paste, 2 heaping tablespoons
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme, optional

Add everything into the slow cooker and set on low. Cook for 7-8 hours.

I stirred the soup around hour 5 just to mix everything together, but this isn’t necessary.

Today’s groceries

groceriesHi lovely readers, I hope you’re having a great weekend!

This is my grocery shopping from today. I bought a few things that are fancier than normal for me: organic extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar, also organic. I bought them to make homemade salad dressing. I love homemade dressings, so I’m looking forward to making some. The avocado and tomatoes are definitely going to go in the salad 🙂

The cheese will be used for sandwiches and also maybe with some eggs. The chocolate pudding and hot chocolate are just nice treats.

I’m also starting to work on meal planning a little bit and tonight I’m planning to make a big batch of lentil soup so I can eat it during the week with lunch.

Here is what I bought today:

  • Seltzer water
  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Hot chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Salad
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cheese slices
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Carrots (not shown)

Total cost: $15. 30