Tag Archives: shopping

Being Thrifty

Before we get started: I added the super simple and thrifty recipe for the stuffed peppers at the end of yesterday’s post.

________________

Today, I practiced being cheap. Thrifty, if you will.

I learned a few things.

Like the fact that some of the best pancakes in the world do not actually require the use of milk.

In fact, I can get by just fine – better, maybe – with the use of orange juice and yogurt.

Yogurt-Spice Pancakes for One

  • 1/4 c. + 1 T. flour (I used graham flour)
  • 1 1/2 T. wheat germ
  • 3/4 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 2 t. chia seeds mixed with 2 T. warm water, and allowed to gel
  • juice of one large orange
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 T. yogurt (I used SoDelicious vanilla. aka crack in a cup)
  • butter/earth balance/non-stick spray, for greasing pan

Mix dry ingredients together. Add in chia egg, orange juice, extract and yogurt. Whisk until a thick batter forms. Divide into two pancakes on a pre-heated, greased non-stick skillet. Cook until golden on both sides.

The xtra ground nutmeg gives them that extra oomph of spice that the otherwise plain pancake batter lacks. And the yogurt gives them fluffy texture yet still moist.

But it’s what’s on top that makes them complete: cashew cream, maple cream and cashews. For the “cashew cream,” just mix ~1 T. cashew butter with 1-2 T. yogurt.

For the maple cream, buy it here and prepare to become an addict. I wanted to swim in it this morning.

It prepared me for a day of being cheap while shopping.

See, I spend too much money at the grocery store. I used to be pretty diligent about printing coupons and buying stuff on sale, but recently I’ve slipped. In case you couldn’t tell, because it’s not like I use twenty different flours at a time. hardee-har-har.

I’m not going to be too cheap with myself, but I realized last night how couponing can be such an addiction.

But maybe I’m just belligerent, and chose to see it as a challenge. Yes, I think that’s what it was. So maybe I only saved $8 this time. I’ll try harder next time.

But can I just be a little bit proud of myself for a second? Can I tell you why?

Because I only paid 9 cents (yes, cents) for this bag of sticks and twigs. Now sure, I don’t even know if I like them, but I’ve heard wonderful things about this company, but have always been too cheap to try them for myself. I’ll just make crackers myself! But 9 cents? I can’t make pretzels for 9 cents, people.

Oh, and just to share with you my relatively ridiculous obsession with cashews at the moment, I purchased 2 pounds of cashews today. (At $10, that means it was only $5/lb! oh, no – I really am becoming a bargain freak, aren’t I?!)

And I even decided to make my own hummus instead of paying $4 for my favorite brand.

Recipe a la Appetite for Reduction. I love how it’s basically pure chickpeas. No call for tahini or even very much oil, just pure chickpea bliss. Which is pretty thrifty, too.

I’m sure glad I decided to be thrifty a while back when I had a bitt too much bread on hand, and needed breadcrumbs – but I definitely should have ground them finer.

…so that they would stick to my onion rings!! Okay, when I first saw the O.M.G. Oven Baked Onion Rings in appetite for reduction, I sort of said “oh yeah! onion rings!”

Truth be told, I think I sort of forgot they existed.

I mean, the last time I was introduced to one was when I still thought vegetables would give me cooties.

As such, the recipe seemed fun, but maybe not one I’d go through the hoops of making.

But then fate happened.

(website being my photo website, i don't refer to my blog as "my website" baha)

Every time I’d pick up the cookbook, it’d open to onion rings.

And then I saw sweet onions on sale at the grocery store.

And then I realized I was thinking about them so much, they worked their way into a conversation. I was debating between making onion rings and getting work done on my photo website.

I chose onion rings.

My method needs help. It will come with time. I blame the breadcrumbs.

And by breadcrumbs, I mean mix of course homemade breadcrumbs and pretzel crumbs.

Don’t ask. It worked. These were damn fine onion rings. I ate them and ate them until my belly could take them no more. And I think I need to go finish the leftovers now. And go back to the store and get more onions to make them all week.

I need a condiment plate/bowl. Do those exist? Like, a single person-sized condiment/dip tray? Because that’d be perfect for my needs.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, this plate pretty much defines my life right now. Dates a la Gabriela (stuffed with almond butter and dark chocolate chips) and homemade pumpernickel with almond butter and/or maple cream.

Even if you, like myself, claim not to be a chocolate fan – you will love these dates. I promise.

21 Comments

Filed under almond butter, baking, breakfast, cooking, dates, dessert, dinner, food, food blog, healthy living, hummus, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, review, shopping, snack, sweet potato, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian

Liar

First I was Guilty.

Then I was Simple.

And now I’m just a liar. Here’s what Teddie has to say about that:

DSC_4613

As many times as I’ve promised this week that “I’ll have something better for you tomorrow…” I keep coming up short.

DSC_3834

I had big plans, I did! But when it came time for dinner, I just. wanted. roasted. veg. Well, that and to use the last of the polenta I’d opened and just about forgotten about.

I’m going to use that as my excuse – I needed to use the last of the polenta and just wanted them to be “croutons” for my “hot salad.”

DSC_3836

I’m not usually one to call a bunch of vegetables and some grain (meal?) a dinner…but what can I say? Tonight it was all about the fiber and the fat. I also used to not think a green monster should be considered a lunch, but that was before I’d tried it for myself.

DSC_3837

Not to mention, I ended up not having much time to make anything fun. We had to put hay away, so that was what my mom and I did while the tater was roasting, and after we came in I just had to bump the oven up and throw together the other veg…which included a boatload of kale, a carrot (random), a shallot, red pepper, red onion, artichoke hearts, and a plum tomato all tossed with salt and a generous drizzle olive oil – and now you know why I said it was all about the fiber and fat Winking smile

But anyways. Now that I’ve just gotten the lie out of the way, look at all of this deliciousness…

DSC_3812DSC_3818

DSC_3816

DSC_3817DSC_3822

DSC_3824DSC_3825

Isn’t that some gorgeous produce?! Maybe not as pretty as Farmer’s Market loot – but work with me here. I’ve finally decided I’m just going to find time and desire to do my shopping at Hannaford, a good store. For Vermont. As I mentioned yesterday – I let myself really run out of just about everything produce-wise so I could go all out. Running to the store for one or two things 3x a week was getting old.

Hence why I bought so many bananas. Well, either that or to feed all the monkeys I our back room…I’m not telling you which is the real reason.

I’d be my own worse nightmare if I was a grocery store cashier. Think of all the produce codes I made that poor lady enter.

DSC_3820DSC_3821

Question – is this a buttercup or a kabocha?! I’d heard Kabocha’s don’t have the little “crown” at the bottom like buttercups have, but otherwise look the same. I don’t know if that knob counts as the crow a buttercup has or not.

DSC_3826DSC_3828

DSC_3829DSC_3830

Lately I haven’t been buying crackers or munchies because I want to make them myself. But these Kashi TLC crackers were pretty inexpensive and sounded good, and I’ve been craving some good hummus vessels.

Maybe that’s why I went a little overboard on the carrots and celery?

Anyways. They are perfect hummus vessels! So is the celery and carrots, though.

DSC_3806

Anyways. That’s enough of the boring stuff. Even though I’m always down for an abundance of fresh produce.

You know what’s been driving me nuts lately? My “n” key is always sticking, which makes blog-writing take about twice as long as usual.

DSC_3808

What’s been driving me nuts in a good way, though, is these pancakes. This morning’s, especially, was bliss. I topped them with a cranberry-fig sauce and coconut milk yogurt. And walnuts. and date molasses. ahmagaw.

DSC_3809

This is where I’d usually say “I promise I’ll have something interesting for you tomorrow!” but then I’d be lying again, because I know full well I won’t. This weekend. Er, actually, maybe not. We’re being graced with beautiful weather for the next few days, and then next week is back to snow and/or rain, so I’m soaking up this sun while I can!

DSC_4611

I’m also really long overdue for a Teddie update…I’m waiting until I can drag someone out to be my photographer Winking smile

How many times/week do you grocery shop? Do you find your cart is practically full and you’re just about done after getting your produce?

30 Comments

Filed under breakfast, dinner, review, shopping, vegan, veggies

Frugal’d Up

I would have thought I’d have been the last person to do a post about healthy eating on a budget. That makes it sound like I’m made of money or have found the secret money tree. Well, I’m not and I haven’t – but it’s no secret that I love a good foodie splurge, if you will. When I didn’t have as many obligations as I do now, it was a lot easier, and I’ve gradually roped myself in to watch my spending a bit more on my trips to the grocery store.

It might help in a contradictory manner that there’s something about equestrians that requires us to own extras of everything, so I have that to splurge on too. Why yes, yes I do need more than one saddle, bridle, saddle pad, girth, brush, etc, etc, etc – even if I only consistently ride one horse.

So, how did I start being a little more watchful of my wallet? Here’s what I’ve started doing, maybe you can find some use, too!

  • Buy what’s on sale, and clip coupons! It’s difficult with “healthy” food, since all too often you’ll find tons of sales and coupons for junk foods, and not so many when it comes to health and natural foods. But, there’s almost always coupons direct from company websites, and every little thing helps. My grocery store will even double coupons under $1, which makes me really happy when I find a coupon for save $1 and I’m really saving $2. See, I really am frugal at heart. Additionally, I’ve begun buying the fruits and veggies that are on sale (that I like), and not every veggie known to man that is more expensive than any other. It hasn’t been repetitive yet, and this way I still allow myself one or two new finds/experiments.
  • Plan your trips. I don’t know about you guys – but every time I run in for one thing, I think of a couple other things I could get too. And then, oh, you know – since I’m spending so little – why not try this, too? And this? And then it’s not such a little shopping trip anymore. I’ve finally gotten over this hurdle and can run in a store for just one or two things – but on my “big trip” I make a list so I don’t go in there not knowing what I need and some recipes in mind I’ve been dying to try. Okay, that and I can hardly remember what I wore yesterday, let alone that I need more yogurt or oatmeal. This includes having some recipes in mind, but not necessarily meal planning if you don’t want to.
  • I really don’t need five kinds of jam. I’m actually still convincing myself of this, and same goes for nut-butters. It’s a WIP, but I’m getting better. These things take time, you know. Though my new $3 PB is a great find. Although I can’t say I won’t still be buying expensive nut butters. I guess that’s my weakness. Which brings me to my next point.
  • I allow myself a weakness/splurge. Because, even if I am trying to be conservative, I’m still a foodie at heart and just want to try everything. My main weakness now is nut butters, fruits, and veggies. I feel like that might be a general consensus 😉
  • I stock up on sale days with pantry items. Things like canned beans on sale for 69 cents? Um, why not? I’m always going through cans of them, and it just makes sense to get them on sale. I guess the dried beans are even cheaper – but I always just go the canned route. I guess I shouldn’t be giving money-saving advice, huh? Pretty much anything shelf-stable that I eat and see on sale and could use sometime within the next couple weeks anyways, I’ll grab if I’ve got the extra bucks. Just watch the labels and make sure they’re not clouded in sodium, and I’ve seen tons of canned fruits with HFCS and weird oils. Huh?!
  • Make your own food. Enter: bars, seitan, lunch, breakfast, coffee. I used to have an “I’ll eat out any day,” attitude – and now I’m all about packing! Not to mention, making a salad or some seitan on a weekend can last almost all week if you need it to, and even though bars on sale for 10/$10 is hard to resist – making your own bars is usually cheaper, too.
  • Frozen food is not always an enemy. Frozen veggies, actually – are often a great way to go. And I’m always seeing them on sale and with coupons! Some do include dressings and are not just the veg – but it all depends. And some are great mixes where you’re really getting a bunch of different veggies all in the same box! I’d even read that frozen veggies can sometimes even be better for you as they’re frozen right as they’re picked – sealing in all the nutrients. And same goes for frozen fruit!
  • Grow your own. Cost of a 6-pack of peppers? I don’t think I even paid $3! Even if I only grow one pepper, I’ve beat the grocery store cost of $3.99/lb.
  • Bring along your reusable bag! Not only is it environmentally friendly, but some stores even give you a couple cents off per bag. So, I say bring at least a dozen bags and put one thing in them all 😉
  • Buy store brands. For most things, at least. I mean, really – a big tub of Quaker oats is highly likely to be identical to a store brand. Same goes for a bunch of brands, and give you the choice of organic or not, too! Just compare labels.
  • Reduced produce can be a lifesaver! My favorite is when I can find three bundles of super-ripe bananas for just $2. An oatmeal lovers dream! And in summer, just freeze a bunch for banana soft-serve, too. Cheapest ice-cream you’ll ever eat!
  • Buy in bulk. Unfortunately, I don’t have a membership to a costco or a sam’s club – but I’m sure some of you do. And there’s debate as to whether bulk bins are sanitary at all, so I won’t preach on that issue, but I will say I do get some stuff from them.

And here’s your reminder to enjoy your pasta

In a really simple, really inexpensive way, too!

Olive Oil – 1 t. = ~ $0.15

Tomato – 1 whole = ~$0.75

Whole Wheat Penne – 1 serving = $0.16

Red Pepper – 1/4 of a large =~$0.75 (?)

Homemade Black Bean Cutlet (uhhhh….)

salt, pepper, dried basil

Feta Cheese – On sale + coupon brought this to only $1.50! so let’s say $0.15

and pine nuts – admittedly, purchased before I “frugal’d up” at $20/lb.

…you do the math. And compare it to how much you’d spend on this at an Italian restaraunt! (of course…you’re liable to get about 4 servings these days, but I digress…)

What do you do to save money at the store?

20 Comments

Filed under cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, recipe

Rude Awakening

Hey lovelies 🙂 I hope everyone’s had a supah flyyy Thursday – can you believe it’s almost Friday already? I think I say that every Thursday – but seriously, where is the time going these days?!

So, after reading all of your wonderful comments for my last post – it sounds like I’m not the only one who sometimes faces having to defend themselves and their food choices! Who wants to start a town of oat-loving, kombucha-drinking, green-monster slurping, sweet-tater-nomming foodies?! I’ll bring the party!!

And by party, I mean Pumpkin-Gingerbread Spelt Flakes.

This morning started out with a rather rude awakening: my mom took the day off (for, what – the first time in ever?! she works too hard) though of course still woke up early – which means, the glaring light from the kitchen found its’ way into my room, along with some radio. Does anyone else hate fluorescent lighting?! I’m the one who, even when it’s almost dark, prepares meals using the oven overhead light only. Especially in the morning – I rolled into the kitchen with a squinty-eyed grimace, while she bopped her head to the music.

What? Too bright?”

No, no…not at all. haha. Love her.

Regardless! I persuaded her to turn the lights off (it was daylight, for pete’s sake!) and did my thang.

Obviously, this is my thang.

Randomness was in store for this morning. I couldn’t think of what to pair with pumpkin! I was – sadly – all out of frozen cranberries.

The base this morning was

-oat bran, rolled spelt flakes, and wheat bran

-brewed coffee & almondmilk

-drizzle molasses, agave, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves

-pumpkin, zest and juice of half an orange

-1/2 T. chia seeds

and topped with:

-pumpkin chia icing, milled golden flax

chopped mixed nuts

-ginger jam and PB&Co Cinnamon Raisin PB

and a compote of orange slices, orange juice & zest, dried cranberries, dried currants, and frozen cherries – in a almondmilk & agave “syrup.”

If you're skeptical - don't worry, I was too. But this just worked.

Gahhh – this was amazing. I wasn’t sure about the citrus, but it made the bowl. Yes, please. To drank? How about a Cinnamon Bun?

The morning consisted of mainly bummin’ around. There were still people finishing exams – so I was not about to go to class and sit and wait. I don’t think there was anything planned for afterwards, so it would have been pointless. I got some blog-reading done, and tried working on business cards – but ended up getting a domain for my photography site! Needed to happen. I made use of the morning!

A savory snack? Whaaa?

You’ve probably noticed that I’m farr more apt to chose a sweet snack versus savory. Sure – I love my veggies, but other than carrots, I don’t often choose to ust have some alone, raw, out of the blue. But, I think all my hummus and hardboiled egg talk with Christina made me absolutely need red peppers, hardboiled egg, and hummus by the time it was only 10:00 am! And I did it up – I won’t say I rationed that hummus, because that’d be called lying.

Eventually – however – I started getting antsy and bopped my way into town. I had to have a drop slip signed to officially drop intro to CJ, and after that I made pit-stops at the co-op, Hannafords, and BB&B.

Rut-Roh, Rorge.

Fueled by Ramen. Err - nectarines and apples, rather.

After trackinng down all the necessary officials at school, I was on my voyage. Yeah, hi, nectarines – you are delicious. Why haven’t you kicked out oranges yet?

I was quite well-behaved at the co-op. And I am officially a member! Sure, the benefits aren’t huge and what-not, but I figure: why not join?

One of my immediately-consumed new finds?

SO stoked to try!

And yet - so frightened.

I’ve seen these all over blogs, to rave and poor reviews. I can’t find them anywhere but the co-op, and had passed the last couple times, but this time I felt brave enough to tackle the Kombucha monster. What made me even more nervous? The closer inspection of the label, revealing trace alcohol from fermentation, and the noise when first opening the bottle. Add to that, the smell when you take a whiff. What. did. I. get. myself. into?

But! The verdict? Holy yum! It’s so weird, yet so good! I love the strangeness of it, haha. That, and – the tart cranberry taste of this one. I was caught off-guard at first by the carbonated fizziness (I rarely have carbonation) but after a few sips I was used to it, and quite enjoying my new love. However, unfortunately – this probably won’t be a new love or addiction at almost $4 a pop. I (riskily) bought two of these babies, and I think I’ll have to make sure I only have one serving at a time for optimum enjoyment! Oh, well.

Before I rampaged Hannies, I looked to some of my other loves for fuel:

Matches made in heaven.

and then did the dang thang. And not only that – I was quite well-behaved once again! A lot of stuff (produce!!) would be cheaper at Price Chopper, so I just held off. Luckily, I’m pretty well set until the weekend in that department. I just wanted to scope out the organic section, of course!

But: the real jackpot was at Bed, Bath and Beyond! gasp.

Don’t worry – you’ll get to see my finds throughout the course of the next couple of days! Peep the lunch goods, though:

What is this, the Thursday classic?!

I don’t know – I guess Thursdays just scream tempeh, PB, Apple butter, apple, and Raisin flatbread?! Seriously love this combo. I should have it more often – it just feels like it’s too good to be lunch, though! That and – I do like my veggie wraps 🙂

After all that, though – it was time to boogie my way back to school for our second photo critique.

I. Have. never been in a class where I am the only vocal one. I usually hardly ever speak up – but seriously, if I didn’t talk, we were going to be there all day. This photo class is killing me slowly. This photo class should be fun. Ugh. Eventually, we were released. I was given another rude awakening by having to walk to my car in the pouring rain. Where did that come from?! I guess mother nature thought it would provide a fitting mood for a miserable class.

Just a little peek!

After unloading Gertrude, I had a quick (and adorable) snack just to tide me an hour or so til dinner.

Babies!

Seriously falling in love with cottage cheese. No lies.

So – I heard a rumour that today is National Waffle Day! I;m not 100% certain this is true, but what does a waffler such as myself do when the words “national waffle day” are read?

Why, make sweet potato waffles, of course! And have breakfast for dinner. Another Thursday thing, apparently.

It's not burnt, it's well cooked.

Initially, I was legitimately upset that my waffle iron’s light never changed to green to signify my waffle was done – but as I ate, I realized: the best parts are the dark parts! It wasn’t really burnt or crispy at all – I think just because it was so moist, it burnt the top most layer.

Wait a minute - is that a new plate, too?

Truly spectacular. My sweet potato obsession is coming back with avengence. I’m not going to resist it – every time I finish a meal with a sweet potato, all I dream of is what to do with my next sweet potato. Okay, that might be a  lie, but saying that I’ve tossed around the idea of sweet potato oats is truth.

Basically, all I did was mash a sweet potato, add some spelt flour and an egg white, some almondmilk, some baking powder, and some seasonings (garam masala, salt) and voila! Actually – that’s not basically what I did…that is what I did.

Another new obsession that I can forsee? Garam masala. Yes, please.

Golden delicious!

I couldn’t make it through all the eggs, though…but apparently I can make some killer scrambled eggs? My mom finished them, and could not stop raving about how good they were, lol. I mean…I wasn’t even that impressed by them…and I didn’t do anything abnormal. They were just scrambled eggs! haha. Ah, well.

Moral of the story? Make sweet potato waffles and more eggs than you can handle. You’ll love life.

Dessert was more cottage-cheesey lovin, and I should disclose the fact that I’m seriously doin’ work on this bottle of Agave. It’s love. But – I want to know about you guys! Any new fun food finds, obsessions, hates, or experiments?

Here’s to Friday!

17 Comments

Filed under all natural, almond butter, almond milk, apple, breakfast, chia seeds, co op, cooking, dinner, food, food blog, foodblog, gingerbread, greek yogurt, health, health food, healthy cooking, healthy eating, healthy food, healthy living, kashi, lunch, nut butter, oatmeal, oats, organic, pumpkin, quesedilla, recipe, sweet potato, sweet potatoes