Project: Food Budget, Week 17

Don’t know what this is?  Click here…or check out all my P:FB posts using the tag cloud/categories.

You all ready to do this?  Alright then…let’s go.  Tehehe 😉

Tip of the Week

I’m going to try and keep this tip a bit shorter this week since I also have a fantabulous company to profile.

This week I encourage you to try out your local ethnic store, be it Asian, Indian, or Mediterranean.  There’s a fantastic Mediterranean  marketplace in Worcester that I get all of my spices, dried beans, grains, and flours from (unless, of course, they’re on sale elsewhere).   Everything is beyond reasonably priced and the quality is superior.  There’s a great selection of wines and other ethnic foods (including Asian ones, randomly) along with prepared products, a deli, etc.  In general, prices at ethnic restaurants are cheaper than those at your supermarket, especially for the aforementioned products.  I know they might seem intimidating and I don’t venture regularly to the Indian or Asian stores (ok I’m terrified of the Asian marketplace primarily because I’m afraid I won’t be able to understand them…yes, I know, its ridiculous) but Ed Hyder’s: its my secret weapon for budgeting, supporting local business, and finding delicious new products at a great price!

Weekly Menu

*Rather than planning specific meals for specific days, I cook in bulk once or twice a week and eat leftovers for both lunch and dinner.  I also eat gleefully devour a green smoothie every morning for breakfast.

*Test recipes for the third Happy Herbivore cookbook are denoted with a * and can include neither a name nor a detailed description.

Zinger Smoothie (spinach, arugula, banana, milk, pumpkin, almond butter) + failed Hot Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa (I tried to sub 2 flax egg)

Arugula, carrot, and scallion salad with rice* (phone pic…on a rainy day)

Apple Sage Chickpea Burgers

Winter Salad*

Tomato lentils (own made-up recipe) + Chard*

 

Spending Savings

*My budget is $40/wk for groceries, household, and H&BC items, with the latter two categories ideally only costing $10 combined.

From r-l, starting on top: Roastarama tea, cocoa powder, capers, Wasa crackers, frozen mango, sliced black olives, mori-nu tofu, spinach, arugula, 2lb panko breadcrumbs, Arrowhead Mills cereal, 10 pints Almond dream, 2 lbs turnips (pink bag), 1 lb washed & cut radishes,natural almonds, diced tomatoes, tamari, frozen organic corn, bananas, 3lb organic sweet potatoes, 2 heads garlic, 1 bunch red chard, 1 apple. Missing is another bag of arugula + about half the spinach.

Total: $49.35
Within budget? :(

I was feeling preeeetty darn bad about this when I did the calculations on Sunday night.  I was super disappointed in myself for going so over even though my only splurge purchase was a $2.00 thing of almonds to snack on and I had tried to meal plan from my pantry.  Then I realized that I don’t have to buy almond milk for about 5 weeks (!) or breadcrumbs for about a year (do you see the size of that box?!).  I also purchased a LOT more produce this week (as you can see) and realize that I am going to just have to be more thrifty with the few processed foods I purchase like snacks and cereal.

I also am not 100% sure how to calculate household purchases because my roomie and I split them down the middle.  So while I put out the $ (because I coupon and he, well, doesn’t…and because I buy sustainable products and, well, you get it), I get half of it back.

Either way, with lots of life changes coming, I really need to reign in my spending as much as possible and put every other cent into savings.  And no, you didn’t miss any big announcements.  Yet.

*A second goal is to save as much as if not more than I spend.  This excludes purchases at Trader Joe’s since coupons are of limited use there.

Eligible Spending: $37.36
Amt Saved:$38.69
Savings goal met? :)

*WHEW*  That makes me feel a little bit better.

Steals and Deals

Whole Foods

10 Almond Dream (32oz): $2.00 (sale price) – 10 $1.00 off (Nov/Dec Whole Deal) – 2 $1.00 cpn sometimes here = $8.00 = $3.20/gal
2 San-J Tamari (10oz): $2.39 (sale price) – $0.55 cpn found here – $0.55 Jan/Feb Whole Deal cpn = $1.29 ea
Arrowhead Mills Spelt Flakes: $3.50 (sale price) – $1.00 (Nov/Dec Whole Deal) – $1.00 cpn found here = $1.50
Celestial Seasonings Roastarama tea: $2.50 (sale price) – $1.00 Jan/Feb Whole Deal cpn – $1.00 cpn 01/15/12 SS = $0.50

I also picked up some Asian noodles for 3/$5 but don’t know the original price.

Wegmans

Wasa Multigrain Crackers: $2.49 – $0.75 cpn found here = $0.99
Kikkoman Panko Breadcrumbs (2lb box): $4.49 – $1.00 cpn found here = $3.49 = $1.79/lb
Emerald Simply Natural Almonds (11oz): $2.99 (sale price) – $1.00 cpn from Sunday paper = $1.99 = $2.90/lb

This week I received 2 free bags of arugala from the 7 Weeks of Great Savings book available to Northborough Wegmans customers, $1.00 off my produce and $1.00 of my TP purchase from coupons in another Wegmans flyer.

Trader Joes’s

*These are everyday prices from the Shrewsbury, MA store.

Organic Sweet Potatoes (3lb bag): $3.99
Capers: $2.69
Baking Cocoa: $2.29
Sliced Black Olives: $1.19

Company of the Week

Source

Yea…I can get on board with that motto.  Mmm…

Anyway… Nature’s Path Organic is a Canadian company that manufactures Nature’s Path, Envirokids, and Optimum brands.   We’re talking cereal, oatmeal, granola bars, and waffles.  All organic.  All veg-friendly.  All delish.

I was actually on the fence for a while with NP because they do add cane sugar to their products (as in its one of the top ingredients) and we all know how I feel about sugar (if you don’t, I’ll write about the evils of it someday…otherwise google that sh*t).  After doing some independent research (try googling “Who Owns Organic” for a fun depressing look at the organic industry today) and meeting NP reps at the Boston Veg Fest, I fell in love.  The coupons certainly helped.  😉

From the Cornucopia Institute’s scorecard on cereal:

“Nature’s Path is a family run, independent company that has been committed to organics and sustainability for over 25 years. Our goal is to be a trusted name for quality organic foods in every home – socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and financially viable. We are the number one producer of organic cereals in North America, with products ranging from breakfast cereals, granola, granola bars and waffles. Nature's Path

All of Nature’s Path’s products are USDA certified organic, grown using a wholesome process using non-chemical agriculture. Furthermore, Nature’s Path is a founding member of the Non-GMO Project, a non-profit organization created by industry leaders to offer consumers a consistent choice for organic and natural products that are produced without genetic engineering or recombinant DNA technologies.”
(emphasis added)  Source <–check out for other cereal brands

So we have an independently-owned company that produces organic foods, refuse to use GMOs, have environmentally-friendly packaging (that explains the reasoning behind the box side reduction <–yay for change + education!), and have delicious-tasting products.  Seriously, what’s not to love?

Oh but it gets better.  The Nature’s Path reps at VegFest were insanely knowledgeable about the company, its products, and its practices.  They let my friend and I each take a stack of coupons held us over for months.  Before writing this post, I contacted NP to see if they would be willing to supply me with more coupons so I could further highlight the merits of their company during an upcoming (aka this) blog post.  The rep was so sweet and offered to ship it out immediately.

Why yes that is $35 worth of Nature's Path coupons!

Come to mama.

Now what about price point?  Well, the cost of NP products are comparable to other brands, especially given their extra merits.  For example, an 11.5oz box of NP granola is $2.99 regularly at Wegmans whereas a 14oz box of Cheerios is $3.29.  In per lb prices we’re talking $4.16 for NP and $3.76 for Cheerios.  That really isn’t a huge difference considering what you are supporting with each purchase: independent vs conglomerate, family-run versus corporation, organic vs conventional, etc.  Now I haven’t paid more than $1.89 for NP cereal since October thanks to coupons and sales so, you know, I’m definitely getting a better deal.

And finally, while there is a lot of greenwashing out there, NP has a long history of being green, even before it was popular or, well, a thing.  Here’s a brief summary:

  • Founder Arran Stephens first opened a vegetarian restaurant (Golden Lotus, 1967) and Lifestream (1971), C anada’s first organic grocery store, before starting NP in the back of his wife’s organic restaurant.
  • The original NP manufacturing plant was the first 3rd party-certified cereal plant in the world, the company was testing GF cereals in the friggin’ 1980s, Envirokids was the first 100% organic kid’s cereal line, NP was the first cereal company to be USDA certified organic (yea, I know, the USDA sucks…but I’m pointing out the company’s initiative here, folks, so bear with me), and was one of the first companies to sign the Declaration of Sustainability.
  • 1% of Envirokids product sales (approx $1 mill in 2009) are donated towards endangered species and wildlife conservation and education.
  •  At their home office there is an organic garden composting system.

Source

The website has so much personality and raw information that it seems transparent.  This is a company, after all, that has little, if anything, to hide from consumers.  Family-run for decades with a leader who refuses to grow the company to the point where he can no longer call the shot and maintain a personal relationship with farmers and workers.  Yea I can definitely jump on board with that.

Oh and did I mention their cereals and granola bars friggin rock?  Because they do.

Yoga/beauty/good eats,

Kait xo

Don’t forget to check out the other rocking bloggers taking part in P:FB:

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6 thoughts on “Project: Food Budget, Week 17

  1. wow, now I am confused. I thought Natures Path was owned by a big food company. I must be getting them mixed up with another. Darn, yes, I was mixing them up with Nature Valley.

    I think they had some products on sale at WF, or hmm, maybe there is a coupon from WF. I’ll have to check. Now, I’m bummed because I’ve been ignoring them due to my misconception. geez! I’m glad you are out there blogging about this stuff! haaahaa

    Anyway, yeah, you were a little teenie bit over this week, but heck, you got a lot of stuff, especially the almond milk!

    oh and a tip, that you might already know, store those bread crumbs in the freezer, or some of them at least and they will stay fresher!

    See ya next week! Great job

    • Loving your stream-of-consciousness here. 🙂

      WF does have some deals…I mentioned them in last week’s post. I’ll be stocking up more when I’m there this weekend. For free! I’m obsessed with their stuff, even if the sugar content is a little high. Its actually like dessert for me now.

      The great thing about the breadcrumbs? Each pound is in its OWN resealable bag!

      • I found the coupons from WF, I knew it sounded familiar, lucky you, because you have manufacturer’s coupons as well, you’ll get a bigger discount, right? Good for you!

  2. Pingback: Qi’a™ Review | yogabeautylife

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