Detoxification is always a hot topic in food blogs and natural living circles around this time of year. Spring has sprung! Time to stop eating savory stews and casseroles, and perk up your diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, and broths. Start the exercise regime, and eat some chia seeds if you know what’s good for you!
I was exhausted last night and my “meal plan” consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, and, if we were lucky, some organic chard I had in the fridge. I was perusing this month’s issue of Delicious Living, however, and saw a recipe for detoxifying chard veggie wraps that didn’t look too hard. I modified them slightly by adding leftover lentils in place of the almond filling, and adding leftover cold chicken and some chopped bacon. The wraps as written in the recipe are vegan, and I’m sure they would be completely delicious that way. You could substitute hummus for the soaked almonds, too, which would be pretty awesome!
Here’s a picture of what the wraps looked like unwrapped:
I made a simple dressing for them out of some vinaigrette I already had in the fridge, plus some lemon juice, flaxseed oil, and fresh ginger and garlic for some antioxidant punch. It was very zesty! Perfect for spring.
Here is what the wraps looked like wrapped! They were SO GOOD. Making wraps is a great way to eat more vegetables, or to include vegetables you know you should eat, but don’t really love, like chard.
Remember the very last post when I was bemoaning the high price of organic peppers? Behold! A “dollar bag” of three red peppers, organic, from the Vitamin Cottage. Now that I think about it, this meal really was a budget meal (especially if you make it vegetarian), unlike the other “budget” meals in the Delicious Living from last month. You are forgiven, Delicious Living, and thank you for detoxifying me for at least one night!
When I first started this blog, I wrote a little bit about frugal shopping at Whole Foods. Almost everyone I know agrees on two things: One, they love Whole Foods, and two, they can’t afford to shop there. The thing is, Whole Foods is actually very affordable as long as you aren’t planning on doing your entire weekly shopping trip there. If I had to guess, I would estimate that at least 50% of the items I buy regularly can be found at Whole Foods for the same price (or even cheaper) than at “regular” grocery stores. Bulk foods, yogurt, milk and eggs, and bread are just a few categories that are perfectly reasonably priced at Whole Foods.
Yesterday’s trip to Whole Foods was a bit of an abberation, however, because Justin and I chose yesterday to celebrate our 7th anniversary! The real date is January 18, but it’s been a hectic few months so we only got to it yesterday. I couldn’t think of anything to get Justin as a present, especially since we don’t really exchange gifts very much, so I picked two things I know he loves: Olives and deli meat.
Olives and… deli meat? That’s a present?
Well, it is for a guy who loves olives and deli meat! I have stayed away from deli meat for quite a while now because I’m not a fan of the high sodium and high price of processed meat. Also, the fact that lots of deli meat is just minced up meat pressed back into meat-log form, well – you gotta admit that’s weird. Too bad I love salami so much! Anyway, this is all to say that we haven’t been eating a lot of Whole Foods BBQ chicken breast. 1/3 of a pound cost me $3.72. The olives came from the olive bar, and they were amazing. They were completely worth the $2.40. You can’t really beat $6.42 for a very appreciated anniversary gift.
I also picked up some budget-friendly items like corn chips ($0.50 with in-store coupon), bananas, organic zucchini for $1.99/lb, and two yogurts at $0.89 each.
Tuesday total: $11.83. Total without gift: $5.41
Weekly total – groceries only: $44.61
Weekly total – groceries + eating out + gift: $65.03
So, how did my Super Budgeting Week go, you ask?
IT WENT VERY BADLY!
I’m so cheesed, because I was feeling very virtuous all week as I eschewed frivolous purchases. Apparently I didn’t eschew them so much as chew them (har har), since my total for six days is $93.81.
There is one silver lining to this situation, which is I definitely did not use up everything I bought for the week. Things I have left:
- Pinto beans ($1.92): All of them, because it go too hot to cook them (apparently March forgot that it’s supposed to be drizzly and miserable).
- Awesome unsweetened ketchup ($3): It goes with the beans to make savory bbq beans.
- Brown sugar ($1.30): Barely used any of this.
- Rice ($1.35): Still have 3/4 of this left too.
- Cabbage ($0.62): Didn’t use any of this because I already had almost a full head of cabbage in the fridge. Guess I didn’t assess the contents of my stockpile before shopping!
- Lentils ($0.50): Used about half
- Waffles ($2?): About a box left
- 3 eggs ($0.66)
- Almond milk ($1): About 2/3 a box left
- Corn tortillas ($0.30): 1/3 package?
And bought yesterday:
- Bulk peanut butter ($3)
- Buckwheat flour ($1)
- Almond meal ($2)
- Bag of carrots ($1.29)
Some of these totals are estimated, but I have about $18.59 in uneaten food at home, which makes the new 6-day total 75.22. Averaged over six days, that’s a total of $12.53. Rats! Still $2.53 per day above my goal, not even counting things I buy today, if I get anything. I haven’t gone back and thoroughly accounted for all the food I still have – the list above only includes things I can list off the top of my head. I’ve got some bananas, half a red pepper, some ginger root… stuff like that. So maybe my daily total is slightly lower than $12.53, but it’s probably not that much lower.
Happy, or sad? Both? Which should I be?
There’s a huge bowl of candy in the reception area of the office where I work. Unfortunately for me, I’m the receptionist so the candy is a constant temptation. It hasn’t been too hard to resist until today, when the boring mini Hersheys were replaced with Almond Joys, peanut m&ms, Twix, Dove chocolates, peppermint patties and mini Snickers. EVERY TIME someone walks by the bowl, they take a candy. Since most of the employees walk by a million times a day, that equals a crap ton of candy. It’s almost as bad as watching all the women walk past my desk to get to the bathroom. Hmmm, I think to myself, EVERY TIME. Maybe I have to pee too! No, I can’t possibly have to go again. It’s all in my mind. Better just go so I can stop thinking about it. ETC.
The candy bowl makes for some funny conversations though. Today I handed a man his tax return and, as he went to leave, he stopped by the candy bowl like everyone does. He stood there for a moment gazing into its depths. He seemed… peeved.
“Hmm,” he said. “You don’t have any Mr. Goodbars?”
My mind flashed back to a few days ago, and I suddenly remembered that he had been in a few days ago and asked about Mr. Goodbars then, too! I remembered it specifically because I thought Mr. Goodbar was an unusual thing to identify as missing from a bowl of candy. I mean, I like Mr. Goodbar and all but I don’t think I would notice if there weren’t Mr. Goodbars in the mix, you know? I decided to get to the bottom of it.
“Are Mr. Goodbars your favorite candy?” I asked.
“No,” he replied. “I just like them.”
“Well, how about a Twix?” I suggested.
“Nah, I don’t like Twix,” he said. (Who doesn’t like Twix? I became suspicious.)
“Have you ever had a Twix?” I asked.
“No,” he said. (AHA!) “But I don’t think I’d like them.”
“Maybe you’d like them if you tried them!” I replied obnoxiously.
“Maybe… but I’m 59 years old and I’m not about to go trying Twix now!” he said, turned away, and left.
How is Maggie these days? She’s lost a little weight and is bursting with cattitude.
It’s so budgety around here these days. I finally took a picture of Justin’s bento and lo, it’s exactly the same as EVERY SINGLE OTHER ONE I’VE EVER MADE. That weird thing is a rolled-up taco left over from last night, and that other thing is a cherry pie Larabar! I persist in buying them “for the fiber” and trying to get Justin to like them, when secretly I’m the only one around here who likes them and I know that I only want Justin to eat them because they fit so perfectly into the box.
I made up a batch of cookie-like things the other night, loosely based on this recipe. I basically threw in everything I could think of that might taste good in a cookie. “Are these healthy, or are they cookies?” asked Justin. “Well, they’re both,” I replied. “That means they’re NOT cookies,” he said. Well, he wasn’t wrong, that’s for sure. I took a good look at them and realized that I had actually cooked up a batch of mini Odwalla bars! The have almost the exact same taste as an oatmeal Odwalla bar, but are slightly less hard and chewy.
I made a batch of garbanzo beans the other day, and I finally took some pictures of the process. Preparing dry beans takes two days; first, you have to sort the dry beans and then put them to soak overnight. The next day you simmer them until tender. You only have to simmer garbanzos for about an hour, but other beans, like black beans and pinto, take 3-4 hours. It isn’t hard at all, but it is time consuming – another reason why busy people have a hard time sticking to a budget. Now, though, I have about a quart of garbanzos in my fridge, and another two pints, frozen in Ball jars, in the freezer! In the end it will save me time and money. Since I bought these particular garbanzos at Sunflower on sale for $.99/lb, they will probably save me quite a bit of money in the long run. Photos forthcoming!
Today, though, you get to read about another exciting adventure in grocery shopping! I went to Whole Foods and found that it’s pretty easy for me to spend $13-14 in one go, but pretty difficult to pare it down to $10. Why is that extra $3 so tricky? It must be like trying to loose that last 3 pounds, or run that extra 3 miles a week. Or to run 3 miles a week, period!
I love Whole Foods. It is often labeled as snooty, elitist, and above all, expensive, but I love it anyway. It’s beautiful, vibrant, and just feels healthy. Sometimes I succumb to feelings of frustration there, though – like when I see a teeny tiny artisan salami that sells for $15. Today, though, I admired the salami and moved on. You don’t need salami to live (I’m pretty sure), but you do need things like bananas.
For $13.72, I got:
- A dozen eggs: $2.79
- 1/3 lb sliced Jarlsberg, for omelettes: $2.38
- 1/4 lb bulk coconut flakes: $.88
- 1/3 lb bulk honey roasted peanuts: $.81
- 1/2 lb bulk flaxseeds: $.88
- 1/3 lb bulk almond meal ($5.99/lb): $1.92
- Bag of corn chips: $1.99
- Snack size bag of Sun Drops (m&ms!): $.99
- Three bananas: $.66
I’m pretty satisfied with this, especially the bulk purchases. The things that got me off track were, as always, treats – the Sun Drops (Justin spied them and said, “Hey honey, can I eat those off-brand m&ms?”), the honey peanuts, the corn chips. Separately they are pretty cheap, but all together… they turn into my $3 nemesis! Check out the prices for flaxseed and coconut… both super healthy, and both SUPER cheap. I love that combination!
With the bulk items, I’m going to make a new type of cookie I learned about yesterday. You just mash two bananas, add 2/3 cup oats (GF for me), a cup of grated carrot, 4tbsp butter, and some cinnamon. Bake at 350 for ten minutes. They’re actually pretty good, considering there’s no added sugar, flour, OR the half stick of butter we’re used to in cookie recipes. I’m planning to add some ground flaxseeds, coconut, and almond meal. A high protein, low-glycemic dessert or breakfast.
I finally succeeded in spending $10 or less at the grocery store. Monday’s trip was such a disaster that I may never show you that receipt. I can tell you my downfalls, though: Cheese, meat, and gluten-free hot dog buns (even though they were on sale for $3). Ugh.
Today was a different story – probably because I already had the cheese! Ha. Anyway, I got some basic things at Sunflower, a great bag of Udi’s GF granola that was on clearance for $2, and I used a coupon on a bag of $1.99 puffed millet, making it $.99. The photo doesn’t show it, but the total was $9.93.
So… what is one to do with a huge bag of puffed millet? My original idea was to use it in some kind of homemade granola bar. I have never succeeded in making a homemade granola bar that actually has the taste and texture of a store-bought one. They always taste good, but they fall apart immediately and revert back to granola. BUT I never had millet before, so I as I prepared to Try An Actual Recipe Rather Than Making It Up And Then Getting Mad, I was pretty sure puffed millet was going to fix all my problems. (Spoiler: It didn’t fix anything! Gah!)
However, according to the package millet is a complete protein. “So it’s like eating a hamburger!” said Justin. Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s a nice addition to the gluten-free grain family.