Project: Food Budget, Week 21

Tip of the Week

When I decided to do the CS Cleanse, I was really worried about my food budget.  I wasn’t sure how I would stick to my budget on a mostly raw, veg-filled diet when I could barely do it otherwise.  Add in to that GF foods, the price of which is still higher than of their gluten-containing counterparts, and I was secretly dealing with a bundle of anxiety.  Am I crazy?  Who decides to do a cleanse while trying to stick to a budget?  And one that involves insane amounts of fresh veggies, the majority of which should really be organic? Seriously, WTF am I doing. 

That sounds about right.  My brain was not a happy place in the weeks preceding the cleanse, especially once you add in doubts about my ability to stick with it and get anything out of it!  Then I started varying up my smoothies, adding in things like frozen peas, cucumbers, and celery.  Suddenly I wasn’t using quite as much of the expensive stuff (e.g. leafy greens).  And then I realized there is so much to do with the cheap staples, once we get over our fear of trying new things!  

So this week’s tip is to go out of your comfort zone and bulk up with the basics!  Add some onions and beans into your sauteed greens, use sweet potatoes to make veggie burgers, add cukes and celery to your smoothies and sunflower seeds to your salad.  Use pantry staples to mix and match delish dressings, sauces, and dips so that your mix of veggies doesn’t grow boring.  Buy leafy greens that you can use more of (e.g. chard) and that don’t wilt down as much (e.g. kale).  Get the most for your money, especially if you are investing in organic!

I’m still learning the ropes here but this revelation has been huge in terms of sticking to both my diet and my budget while still getting a ton of nutrients from varied sources.

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.

It was a super international food week.

Rainbow Chard* with Kidney Beans + Tabbouleh*

Paella* over sauteed spinach

Paella* and Gazpacho* <–so friggin amazing even though I added too much water!

Smoothie of the Week: The Sweet and Savory ( (romaine/cuke/peas/celery/ginger/almond milk/banana/cinnamon)
*Goitrogen-Free

  • African mashed potato dish*
  • Aloo Gobi*
  • Salad-of-the-week: arugula/carrots/sunflower seeds <–keeping it simple and delish!

Seriously, who said cleansing was boring/restricting/etc?  I’m eating a TON of food and trying so many new recipes!

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 l-r, starting in the back: Mary's Organic Caraway crackers, wild arugula, organic rainbow chard, organic green leaf lettuce, wasabi & soy sauce almonds, light coconut milk, dorset cereal, cassava chips, parsley, mint, organic romaine hearts, organic celery hearts, organic sweet potatoes (2lb), 3 cukes, 3 plum tomatoes, yellow pepper, organic fozen peas, scallions, 2 things tofu, 3 bananas, ginger root russet potato, organic carrots (1lb), minneolas (2 lbs),asparagus, jicama

Target: $1.06
Wegmans: $5.60
Whole Foods: $7.68
Ocean State Job Lot: $8.48
Trader’s: $21.86

Total: $44.68 🙂

Yea, I’m saying that’s a big old :D!  Do you see how much produce is up there?  And the majority of it is organic.  I splurged on a handful of things this week like the Dorset cereal…which is usually $6 or $7 at WF…and some jicama to add a little crunch to my salad.  I also got lucky and received some stuff for free thanks to the kindness of cashiers (~$6 worth of food!).  So really, I can’t complain!

Eligible Spending: $22.82
Savings: $15.58 (68%)

I’m not complaining on this either!  Obviously my ability to save massive amounts is decreased based on the shift in my diet, but I’m shopping around and doing my best!  If I ever looked at my savings from shopping at Trader’s vs. other stores, that number would jump up hugely!

Steals and Deals

Target

E.L.F. concealer = $1.00 (products aren’t the absolute best but they have many redeeming qualities).

Whole Foods

Organic Red Leaf Lettuce = $1.50 (reg. $2.49)
Asparagus = $2.99/lb (reg. $3.99/lb)

Nasoya Extra Firm Tofu: $2.69
$0.75 Nasoya coupon
and $1.25 Whole Deal Jan/Feb Booklet
Total price = $0.69

Ocean State Job Lot

Dorset Cereal: $2.99
$1.00 Dorset coupon
Total price = $1.99!

Blue Diamond Flavored Almonds (6 oz): $2.49
$1.00 Blue Diamond cpn from 2/5 Sunday paper (regional)
Total Price = $1.49 = $3.97/lb   <–Please note this is cheaper than using the coupon on the 1 lb bag that OSJL sells!

Kettle Chips: $1.00
$1.00/1  Kettle Brand Chips 4 oz or larger in the 1/29 RP
Total Price: FREE!

Trader Joe’s

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

Organic Romaine Hearts (3 pack): $2.79
Wild Arugula (7 oz) $1.99
Bananas: $0.19/piece
Organic Celery Hearts (2 pack) $2.29
Bell Peppers: $1.29/piece
Organic Carrots: $0.89/lb
Green Onions: $1.29
Minneolas (3lbs): $2.99 = $0.99/lb
Russett Potatoes: $0.39/piece
Herbs (1 oz): $1.69

Company of the Week

Source

This should probably be called a product review since not many of the German company’s products are even available in the states.  But its still a cool company that you should check out!

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I was tooling around on Ashley’s beautiful site when I saw her random review post.  Nestled at the end was this picture:

Source

WHOA.  No salt added veg bouillon?  Yes, please!  And it was 100%worth it.  As someone who easily goes through one to two quarts of veg broth a week (and who finished up her stockpile about a week before finding this), I was super excited to find an alternative.  At Wegmans it costs $3.29 for a box of 8 cubes (4 quarts) which means I’m paying only $0.82/quart.  I also can say goodbye to wasting broth as I can make this in 2-cup increments for use as necessary.

How’s the taste you ask?  Well I’m not one to judge veg broths…I buy whatever is the best value, sticking to low-sodium when possible (read: when the budget allows)…so it tastes perfect to me!  I’ve made numerous recipes with it and all have come out perfectly.  Best of all, I never have to worry about my salt intake or whether the dish will come out too salty.  As someone who is sensitive to salt, this is awesome!

The bouillon comes in three flavors: no salt added, regular with salt, and with herbs.  Rapunzel also makes a ton of other products like herbs, legumes, pasta, cheese, dried fruit, condiments, etc etc etc etc.  The official bouillon description from Amazon says the following:

“True to nature. Rapunzel Pure Organics offers a line 3 tasty Vegan vegetable bouillons (Regular-with sea salt; With herbs; No salt added). Using only the highest quality ingredients from organic cultivation wherever possible. Rapunzel helps eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture. Made with sun dried sea salt from the French Atlantic coast, with organic vegetables and herbs and non hydrogenated organic palm oil. Made in Switzerland.

Now I wrote in the beginning that this was more of a product review than a company review.  While this is 100% true, it would go against the values of this blog and my personal beliefs about food if the company was sh*t.  Through their Hand in Hand project, they work with small farmers to source Fair Trade products such as pecans, cane sugar, and cocoa.  Furthermore, they are a Demeter partner, dedicated to biodynamic cultivation – the most sustainable form of agriculture available.  While only a handful of Rapunzel’s products are Demeter products, this partnership shows the company is taking a step in the right direction.  If sustainable foods are something you are passionate about, then I suggest exploring more about biodynamic practices and farms in your area.  FYI – Shundahai Farm in CT closely follows biodynamic principles and happens to be the farm where beau and I bought shares from.

That’s all!  Don’t forget to give my fellow Project: Food Budget bloggers a little luuuurve!

Yoga/beauty/budgeting,

Kait xo

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9 thoughts on “Project: Food Budget, Week 21

  1. Hey Kait! Looks like you had a great week – oh and THANK you for your little “care package” this week. I don’t know if I can use any of the coupons, but my mom might be able to, IF I can get them to her on time before they expire.

    Anyway, I love your tip for getting out of your comfort zone. I did that a little bit this week with my purchase of mustard greens. they were on sale (1.49/lb) during the WF weekender and I decided to try them. I always thought they might be too bitter or something, but they were delicious sauteed. And they were such a huge bunch!

    I feel foolish now because my CSA, last summer, was giving them away for free, and I didn’t take any. There is that “fear” thing again. Well, I’m learning too, and I hope NOT to be doing that again. Experiment and get out of the comfort zone! yeah!

    Oh and I feel compelled to ask. Do you make your own veggie stock from your veggie scraps? You know, ends/peels, etc? I save all my scraps in a freezer bag in the freezer and about once a week or two I make a huge huge pot of veg stock. You could make good 3 quarts or so, maybe more. Delish.

    Just a suggestion.

    Great job this week!

    huggs!

    • Glad you got the package ok and I hope someone can use some of them! Either way, they would have gotten recycled here so…

      For some reason making my own veg stock intimidates me because I’m afraid of screwing it up. 😦 Can I literally just throw ANYTHING into a pot of water and let it simmer???

      • Oh no, do not be intimidated. I don’t even know if you can screw it up! It’s just dump and simmer/steep. I like cooking in my big 7qt cast iron, but it would work just fine with any stainless pot.

        Depending on how I feel, I use stovetop or my oven. I love cooking soups in the oven so I don’t need to babysit the pot.

        The only thing to keep in mind is to limit cabbage-y/broccoli-ish veggies as they can give it a strong flavor.

        I mostly keep carrot peels & ends, celery ends, and a little bit of cabbage leaves. You can even save onion scraps (papers, ends), but I dont buy organic onions, so I limit those too

        When my gallon freezer bag is full, it’s time to make a new batch.

        Anyway, if you google free vegetable stock, you’ll find more details from other sites, like how long to cook, etc. I just kind of wing it. Lol

      • Yes, that sounds about right.

        And yes, I’m intimidated by a lot still, like making homemade tortillas, homemade mustard, wontons, and braided bread.

        I’m hoping today will be an experiment day..I still have silken tofu, waiting to be made into chocolate pudding. Baby steps! haaahaa

  2. Well, I made the chocolate pudding with silken tofu and I was too lazy to really follow a recipe, so I winged it.

    It was too sweet, I kept adding more honey and a little maple syrup. LOL but without the sweetener, it just tasted like something was missing.

    I think chocolate is the wrong flavor for tofu, chocolate needs richness. Or maybe I should have melted dark chocolate bars instead of using powdered cocoa.

    Anyway, I think fruit flavors would meld better, like lemon, and I might try that next.

    One tip is it has to be processed very well, because it will be grainy otherwise. Keep processing.

    otherwise, it tasted good, and the BIG deal is my DH liked it, probably more than me. LOL. And then I told him it was tofu. LOL. He is coming around slowly but surely!

  3. Pingback: Ingredient Intros: Cukes and Celery « yogabeautylife

  4. Pingback: Project: Food Budget, Week 22 « yogabeautylife

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