Money Saving Monday – All By Myseeeeeeelf

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Welcome to another week of saving money and taking names! ;) This week I was flying solo since the beau was working. The upside: I only bought what was on the list (yes ladies and gents – my beau is the impulse shopper in this family!). The downside: I was totally discombobulated and never had enough hands. I guess I’ve gotten a bit spoiled… #firstworldproblems

Anyway, I’m prepping for a big interview (which I’ll be at by the time you read this) so its going to be short and sweet this week.

Meal Plan

For some reason I was feeling super inspired to turn to Mama Pea this week. <–probably because her serving sizes are a tad bigger and didn’t require any math on my end to double the recipe!

Lemon Lentil Soup
Thai Crunch Salad (Peas and Thank You)
Lasagna Rolls (using the Tofu Ricotta from here because it is the best and I want to licked the bowl clean) + arugula salad
Kale + Cheese Stuffed Tortillas
Avocado and Quinoa Chimichurri Salad
Zucchini Bread (Peas and Thank You) <–because I haven’t had some all summer and they’re almost out of season!

Spending Savings

Farmers Market: $35
Whole Foods: $20.53
Trader Joe’s:
CVS: $8.36
Walgreens: $3.52
Total:

Farmer’s Market: $1.00
Whole Foods: $3.75
CVS: $5.80
Walgreens: $8.04
Total: $18.59 (

Steals and Deals

Whole Foods

Corn Tortillas (12): $1.49

Buy (3) Larabars, $2.97 ($0.99 ea as “Treat of the Week”)
Use (1) $0.75/3 Larabar, Uber, ALT or Jocalat Bars coupon
and (1) $1.00/3 Larabar, Uber, ALT or Jocalat Bars July/August Whole Deal coupon
Total: $1.22 or $0.41 each!

Buy (1) Ezekiel 4:9 Bread, $3.49 (price varies by variety)Use (1) $0.50/1 Food for Life product coupon or here
Total: $2.99

CVS

Buy (1) Tom’s Toothpaste, $3.79
Use (1) $1.00/1 Tom’s Toothpaste or Mouthwash (SS 09/15/13)
Receive (1) $1.00 ExtraCare bucks
Total: $2.79 + $1.00 to spend on a future purchase

Buy (1) Organic Cotton Balls, $3.59
Get (1) 1/2 off
Use (1) $1.00 ECB from prior purchase
Total: $4.39 or $2.19 each

Walgreens

Buy (1) Scott Naturals Paper Towel 6-pack, $4.00
Use (1) $1.00/1 Scott Naturals Towels coupon
and (1) $1.00/1 Scott Naturals Paper Towels Walgreen September coupon (in store)
Total: $2.00 or $0.33/roll

Buy (4) Kleenex Facial Tissues, 85-ct, $3.52
Use (1) $1.00/4 Kleenex Facial Tissues coupon (SS 8/11/13)
Total: $2.52 or $0.63 each

OR

Buy (3) Kleenex Facial Tissues, 85-ct, $2.64
Use (1) $0.55/3 Kleenex Facial Tissue coupon
Total: $2.09 or $0.70 each

Until next time… keep your fingers crossed about my interview!

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo
 

http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2013/8/28/grilled-kale-cheese-stuffed-tortillas.html

Money Saving Monday: Speak Up

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Let’s start with the super duper important things. Like this Kale Smoothie popsicle I scored at the Farmer’s Market this week

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It was absolutely delish and the only ingredients are kale, green grapes, and banana. Um that is my kind of breakfast right there thankyouverymuch. Considering the beau and I got up super duper early to hit the market before my 10am training, this was about the only thing that brought a smile to my very grumpy self. I followed this up with another new obsession: Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin bread. Ohmygoodness it is soooo raisin-y and delicious especially with a touch of Earth Balance. nom nom nom

And since I’m sharing breakfast i-photos, I might as well show you this little gem. Can we talk about the color of that peach? Aka it was perfect. The roll is actually one of the Schar ones I got for super cheap last week. The beau and I were both big fans and we will definitely be grabbing these the next time we stop by Wegmans.

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Now that that’s done…onto the main post!

Tip of the Week

Keep your cool when dealing with frustrated workers but don’t let awful behavior pass. So I  had a pretty poor Whole Foods experience this week. For some reason the poor cashiers at all MD grocery stores have to manually enter every coupon instead of just scanning it. Like they literally have to type in the dollar amount and choose a department. UUUUGH. The WF down here have another annoying policy so that whenever you use more than 1 of the same WF coupon the supervisor needs to use a key. You can imagine this is somewhat annoying. Unfortunately, this week that annoyance was taken out on me. While I smiled and apologized and empathized regarding how frustrating the situation must be, I also left feeling really crappy. Which, IMO, is not okay. So I took the time to craft a very professional letter to the store letting them know that I understood the source of the emotions but didn’t feel it was right for them to get transferred to consumers. Will anything come of it? I don’t know. But the eternal optimist in me hopes that we can engage in a conversation about these ridiculous policies and maybe some good will come of it.

Anyway, don’t be afraid to speak up if you have a negative experience. Just be sure to be courteous and give facts and not just feelings. Be as objective as possible and for heaven’s sake don’t lose your temper. Remember honey > vinegar. Winking smile

Meal Plan

Mexican Cabbage (we never got it it last week)
Vegan Caprese Pizza using this dough and these toppings
Curried Sweet Potato soup with wild rice (Happy Herbivore Cookbook)
Tofu Shirataki noodles with Broccoli Pesto (HHC)

Since its our anniversary on Tuesday, we’ll also be celebrating with dinner out at our favorite sushi restaurant here in Bmore. They do Living Social deals fairly often and we always stock up!

Spending Savings

Farmer’s Market: $36.00
Whole Foods: $26.60
Walgreens: $9.47
Eddie’s: $3.00 (avocados are cheaper here!)
Total: $75.07

I may run to Target and spend that last $5. I may not. We’ll see.

Whole Foods: $14.59
Walgreens: $10.30
Total: $24.89 (33%) #nottooshabby

Steals and Deals

Whole Foods

Buy (1) box Back to Nature Crackers, 2/$7
Use (1) $1/1 Back to Nature Product coupon
and (1) $0.50/1 Back to Nature Cookie, Cracker, Granola, or Nut item Sept/Oct Whole Deal coupon
Total: $2.00

Buy (1) bag Kettle Chips, 2/$4
Use (1) $1.00/1 Kettle Chips coupon*
and (1) $0.75/1 Kettle Chips July/August Whole Deal coupon
Total: $0.25!

*You may have to change your Zip code. Simply go to Coupons.com, sign in to your account, and click on your name in the upper right-hand corner. Choose ‘Your Profile’ and set your zip to 18051. Click ‘Submit Changes’ and close the screen. Then try the link above again!

Buy (2) House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodles, 2/$3
Use (1) $1.50/2 packages House Foods Tofu Shirataki coupon (SS 08/04/13)
and (1) $1.50/2 packages House Foods Tofu Shirataki July/August Whole Deal coupon
Total: FREE!

Buy (2) So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurts, 2/$3
Use (2) $1.00/1 So Delicious Dairy-Free product coupon (SS 07/28/13 OR 09/08/13)
OR (2) $0.55/1 So Delicious Dairy-Free product coupon from here or here
and (1) $1.00/2 So Delicious Dairy-Free product July/August Whole Deal coupon*
Total: as low as FREE!

*There is also a $1.00/3 coupon in the Sept/Oct Whole Deal. Simply change ever (2) to a (3). Final cost will be as low as $0.50 or $0.17 each.

Buy (1) Barbara’s Morning Oat Crunch (formerly Shredded Oats), $3.99
Use (1) $1.00/1 Barbara’s Morning Oat Crunch coupon
and (1) $1.00/1 Barbara’s Morning Oat Crunch Sept/Oct Whole Deal coupon
Total: $1.99

Buy (2) Delallo Whole Wheat Pasta, $2/6
Use (1) $1.50/2 packages Delallo Whole Wheat Pasta coupon
Total: $4.50/2 or $2.25 each

Walgreens

Buy (1) Colgate 360 toothbrush, $2.99
Use (1) $1.00/1 Colgate 360 toothbrush (SS 09/08/13 #2)
Receive (1) $1.00 Register Rewards for next purchase
Total: $1.99 OOP + $1.00 to spend on a future purchase

Buy (1) Starbucks K-Cup, 10-pack, $6.99
Use (1) $1.50/1 Starbucks K-Cup pack (SS 09/08/13 #2)
and (1) $1.00 Register Reward from ^ purchase
Receive 1,000 points ($1.00) for next purchase
Total: as low as $4.49 or $0.45/cup +$1.00 to spend on a future purchase

Buy (1) Sensodyne toothpaste, $4.99
Use (1) $1.00/1 Sensodyne toothpaste coupon (SS 09/08/13 #2)
and 1,000 points ($1.00) from ^ purchase
Total: as low as $2.00 +$1.00 to spend on a future purchase

*whew* That’s it for this week!

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

Money Saving Tuesday: Better Late than Never

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Hiya loves!

Is it just me or are you totally confused about what day of the week it is? I woke up with a start yesterday, convinced I had slept through a doctor’s appointment that was actually this morning. *shakes head* Oh holiday weekends…I love you so much but man you mess with my head!

Anyway this post is coming late because we didn’t actually shop until Monday afternoon and t that point I figured everyone was probably enjoying sunshine and picnic food. As an added bonus, now ya’ll have something to entertain you while back at work. You’re welcome. ;)

Last note – there’s now a Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods coupon matchup!!!!!! I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this because going in blind or making an extra trip to scout the deals  is a pain. In a different region? Check Healthy Life Deals for more location-based match-ups.

Tips of the Week

Have a plan! I know I’ve talked about meal planning before but let’s just say lately, I haven’t  practiced what I preach. And you know what? I learned my lesson! Any week the beau and I winged it, we would run out of food by Wednesday or Thursday and have to dip into our ‘fun fund’ to buy more. Uh, no thank you. On the weeks we planned, however, we got more food, spent less money, and usually had groceries left over for the next week. This week was no exception. Our main bill came to a mere $65. Um what?! We used the rest of the money to splurge on things like local honey and new-to-us products. This is the beauty of taking 15 minutes to google some recipes and write down ingredients.

Focus on produce. Out of four bags, three were filled with produce, most of which was local and/or organic. You already saw the numbers so I really don’t need to say anything else. ;)

Meal PlanIt’s that time of year again – Happy Herbivore cookbook testing!That means some recipes will not have links and will only have loose descriptions (e.g. kale dish). All test recipes are marked with a star*.

Green Gazpacho <–I’m really loving her recipes and have had uniformly good results from them. She offers a good mix of plant-based or plant-adaptible recipes and they make a lot!Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Mexican Cabbage (HHC)
Some sort of kale salad
Roasted sweet potatoes with creamed kale* and bean dip*

Spending Savings

Farm stand: $20.00
Wegmans: $50.80
Fresh & Green’s: $9.43
Total: $80.23

Wegmans: $7.08 (9%)

Steals and Deals

Wegmans

Buy (1) So Delicious Almond+ Milk (64 oz), $3.49
Use (1) $0.55/1 So Delicious product coupon
*doubles*
Total: $2.39 each or $4.78/gal

Buy (1) Schar Multigrain Ciabatta Rolls, $4.49
Use (1) $3.00/1 Schar bread product coupon
Total: $1.49

Buy (5) Goya Low Sodium Beans (any variety), $4.95
Use (1) $1.00/5 Goya Low Sodium Beans coupon
Total: $3.95 or $0.79 each

Buy (1) Food for Life Bread 9any variety), $3.99
Use (1) $0.50/1 Food for Life product coupon or here
Total: $2.99

Until next time…

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

Super Simple (Almost) Raw Pasta

This week I made a fantastic quick lunch dish that I wanted to share.

Yes that’s right, I’m sharing a recipe!  WHAT?!

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This super simple dish came together in bout 30 minutes and was filling and all sorts of delish…tangy and crunchy and refreshing and light.

Super Simple (Almost) Raw Pasta

2 zucchini (mine were ~5 in each)
1 carrot (same size)
1-1.5 Tbsp oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced.
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2+ Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp hemp seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Make raw noodles using a spiralizer, juliennee peeler, regular peeler, or sharp knife.

Heat a frying pan on medium-low When the pan is warm, add oil (you may need more or less depending on the pan you’re using). When the oil is warm, add garlic and pepper and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add raw pasta, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, and salt and pepper. Mix together and heat for 3-5 minutes, depending on how soft you want the noodles. Top with additional nooch and hemp seeds.

That’s it! It was a filling, delicious, colorful, and filling lunch.

Yoga/beauty/mmm,

Kait xo

 

Money Saving Monday: It’s back!

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Once upon a time, I participated in this great experiment called Project: Food Budget. I was sad when it ended and planned on continuing documenting my journey with some tweaks.  Unfortunately, it became a bit of a non-priority and though I continued to coupon and budget extensively, documenting it all was not as important to me.  This also coincided with the beginning of some rather trying times during the last year.  Despite the e-mails asking when this feature would be back, I just could not bring myself to do it.

Things have been tight lately given that the beau and I are living off less than we’d like.  So as we’ve tightened our belts and our budget, I’ve found myself returning to my spend-thrifty ways!  So the time officially has come to bring. it. back.

*dance break*

Dancing on the beach

For those of you who may be new to this series it goes a little something like this.  Every Monday I’ll post a meal-planning, deal-sighting, coupon-using, all around fab post.  I’ll clue you in on the (hopefully) awesome recipes I’ll be trying out and my favorite steals and deals that I took advantage of.  If there’s a particular company I’m obsessed with, I might highlight them.  If I have a great tip for saving money, I’ll share that too.  Sometimes there will be photos of my meals and my haul.  Sometimes there won’t.  I’m trying to be a more go-with-the-flow type of person. 

My general rules/goals are as follows:

  • Spend no more than  is $400/month ($80-100/week).  This is for my beau and I and includes everything (food, toilet paper, neosporin, makeup, etc).
  • Save as much as or more than we spend.
  • Never pay full price for packaged foods.  Produce in boxes/bags is the one exception.
  • Similarly, pay the lowest possible price for packaged foods and stock up at this time if possible.    This may be from a sale, coupons, a combination of the two, or simply shopping at a competitively-priced store (e.g. Trader Joe’s).
  • Unit prices trump actual prices 99% of the time.  The 1% exception occurs when we’re really short on our budget but need something.  Then we buy  whatever is the least expensive.
  • Purchase packaged foods primarily from those companies that are ethical, supporters of local business, and, preferably, independently owned (as opposed to, well, not).   Cost sometimes wins but generally I stick to this.  #votewithyourfork
  • Purchase locally-grown produce whenever possible.
  • Purchase only organic varieties of the “Dirty Dozen” foods.  <–something I still struggle with, mostly for cost reasons.  However locally-grown with minimal-no pesticide use > organic.

Alright…let’s get to the good stuff!

Continue reading

Money Saving Money – Away All Weekend Edition

Hi All,

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that you actually got to take advantage of the holiday (Columbus Day in the States & Thanksgiving in Canada).  For the first time in my life I do not have a long weekend, a fact about which I am not a happy camper!  That didn’t stop me from jetting home though, and I spent a lovely New England weekend in CT with the beau and his family.  :)

I planned my return trip so I could grocery shop before the stores closed around traffic, meal planned on the bus (side note: MegaBus rocks.  I will happily take them again, anywhere.  The wifi actually worked well, there was much more space, and we didn’t take any 40 minute breaks at rest areas *coughBoltcough*), and was home from grocery shopping less than an hour after my bus got back.  This is a huge accomplishment folks!  However, it also means that I went to one store and one store only: Trader Joe’s.  So there isn’t much to share for this week except the fact that I was ridiculously under budget and to share the lesson that you <–err, me! don’t always have to go to three different stores to get what you need.  Most weeks I love the adventure of spending 2-3 hours driving around and grocery shopping but last night…all I wanted to do was get home!  And so I did…and it was a great reminder that just because you can spend (and save!) more money, doesn’t mean you have to.  

Meal Plan

Acorn Squash Polenta
Pumpkin Risotto <–I made mine with leftover b’nut squash and brown rice
Hearty Pumpkin Soup with Tofu  <–ohmuhgoodness are you seeing a theme yet?  haha
Apple Dijon Kale Salad
Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts

Spending Savings

I spent a grand total of…wait for it…$27.50!  I didn’t save a dime but I didn’t overspend either.  *weeee*

Now to be fair, there are some things I plan on picking up later in the week (like more $0.25 tofu since I have a rain check #win) but nothing that will put me over budget (and hopefully I will stay under).

This is all especially good news considering the amount of $ I spent on food in NYC.  Now this sounds normal except that I wasn’t actually visiting the City…just passing through to and from CT.  Believe me when I say I made those pass throughs oh-so-worth-it!  You can see for yourself on Wednesday.  tehehehe

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait o

Project: Food Budget – This is It!

Holy crap…this is my last P:FB post.  :’(  I’m actually really sad this project is over since I’ve had a blast, met some great friends, and learned a ton.  I hope these weekly posts have been useful for you!  Thanks to everyone who has commented and offered support and feedback.   :)

Anyway, Emily asked that we go a little rogue this week and do a bit of reflecting on our participation in this project.  So here goes…

I’ve always considered myself a good budget-er.  That is what happens when, for better or worse, you become financially independent at 16 and are responsible for every dime you spend (car insurance included).  However, when I graduated college and was working full time both at UMass and Passion Parties (that would be 6-8 parties/month), I experienced wealth like never before.  Now, this is relative wealth since what I was making, combined, most people would scoff at.  Fact of the matter is, I was making more money than ever and I could spend it how I chose.  I was frugal about saving because I planned on going to medical school and am extremely grateful because it saved me from taking out a very very large sum of additional loans.

But somewhere along the way, I let budgeting slide.  Probably because, for the first time in my life I didn’t have to watch every single dollar and cent. <–I can still remember hand writing a weekly budget every week during high school. I didn’t have to budget so why should I?  The short answer is that I first became a foodie…and then a couponer…and then a grad student.  The longer answer is that just because I have the money to spend doesn’t mean I should spend it carelessly.  If there is an opportunity to save, I should take it.  Not because I’m living in a state of lack but rather because being frugal is just plain smart.  <–And I’d prefer to save my money for a vitamix.  *sigh*

P:FB came into my life at the perfect time when I saw my food spending getting out of control ($80-$100/week was the norm for just me) and one of my good friends had just introduced me to healthy couponing.  Like most things, I went a little overboard with the couponing at first but I’ve now found a good balance…I spend one morning a week (usually Saturday since that’s when the sales flyers come out) meal planning and couponing.  Does that mean I miss stuff?  Absolutely.  But it also means I stay a bit saner.  And, you know, there’s all my grad school stuff!

As I’ve taken this journey I’ve learned a few things about myself and my habits.

  • I effing love a good sale.  And its really hard to turn one down even if I technically-sort-of-really don’t need it.
  • I have no qualms about pulling from my monthly “fun fund” to buy a new ingredient.
  • Some weeks you just have to put your budget aside.  <–more so when this budgeting thing was just for fun!
  • Some weeks you have to pay the cheaper total price rather than the best unit price to stay on budget.  :(
  • I’m really good at massaging numbers to make myself feel better.  <–note to self: I am not defined by a $ amount!
  • Couponing is really fun…and can be time-consuming…but mostly its a great intellectual challenge.
  • There’s nothing quite like the high you get from a big haul!  <–especially if you haven’t eaten/drank too much caffeine
  • Group accountability counts for something.  I knew I had to post every week and I didn’t want to let myself or anyone else down.
  • I really love taking photos of food.  I’m not that good at it but man is it fun.  :)
  • I’m glad I had a chance to “play around” with this before being put into a situation where I had no choice.
  • Going off of that, I feel blessed that this budget is not a be-all-end-all for me.  Even if I do go over, I can usually make the difference up with one Passion Party or, if worse comes to worse, can borrow money from someone.  Not everyone on  budget can say the same.

Given that I’ve had such a great time with this project, I do plan on continuing to do it.  I have to live on a budget now so it just makes sense.  That being said, I’ll be switching my food budget posts to Mondays.  This way, I can write up the posts while the food is cooking AND you can get to WF before the sales end.  :)

OK so onto this week’s meal plan…

Weekly Menu

*Starred recipes are test recipes for the forthcoming Happy Herbivore cookbook.

After some excessive spending two weeks ago, I decided to use up pantry items this week and I based my meal plan on that + what was on sale/I had coupons for.  I must say, I’m pretty impressed given most of this stuff I just had lying around!  Including the spinach which I had gotten for free with a Cascadian farms coupon.  *woot*

Sunday Night Sushi Feast: avo, cucumber, and asparagus roles, seaweed salad, and homemade roasted edamame.

Mexican Salad with arugula,black beans, olives, red pepper, pineapple salsa, and hot sauce

*Loaded Baked Potato 1 – seriously you can’t even see the potato!

Sauteed Spinach with Silken Tofu and Red Rice

*Kale with black beans and vegan ricotta ^perhaps my favorite picture ever.  *note to self* photograph on the concrete again

Loaded Potato, take 2*
The most amazing chili* in the world
Lots of Cascadian Farms granola

Spending Savings

Farm stand: $6.50
Whole Foods: $20.07
Trader Joe’s: $5.65
Glut Co-Op: $11.00

Total: $43.22 :)

Total Saved: $10.48 (~25%)

I’m really super impressed by this week considering the only place I used coupons was WF!  And everything I bought at Glut was really nto necessary (lots of nuts, tofu ricotta that was only $2.00, awesome crackers for the same price…you get the picture).

That’s it folks because its midterms and my big brother is visiting tomorrow so I need to tidy this place up a bit.

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

 

Project: Food Budget, Week 49

Holy crap we’re on week 50 49!  That means only two three official weeks to go.

Not that I’ll stop budgeting or meal planning or couponing.  So my question is: do you guys want me to keep going with P:FB-like posts?  Let me know.  ;)

Weeks 48 and 49 47 and 48 were a bit *ahem* hectic.  The former was finals week and the latter was my break so I was home, spending far too much $ eating out and visiting friends and generally enjoying life.  I’m guessing that I was on-budget for the month of August, at least with my food budget, if not with my extraneous spending.  <–trying not to think about that!

Meal Plan

*Starred items are test recipes for the 4th Happy Herbivore cookbook.

Chili*
Corn Soup*
Parmesan Celery Salad  <–new favorite blog!  Thanks Emily!  And seriously everyone make this.  And yes, I used faux cheese.
Avocado Pasta with Zucchini Tagliatelle

Spending Savings

Wegmans: $38.03
Whole Foods: $33.72

Total: $71.75

Between an empty fridge, some deals that were too good to pass up, and the need for probiotics to help me recover from this weekend’s exploits ($16 on sale), it was a pricey week!

Total Saved: $19.76 (28%)

Steals & Deals

Wegmans
*Coupons up to $0.99 are doubled

2lb bag lemons: $3.49
Bananas: $0.49/lb
Organic Celery: $2.69
Salsa: $1.99

Barbara’s Shredded Wheat (29oz): $5.99
-$1.00 Barbara’s cpn
=$4.99 = $0.17/oz = $2.72/lb

Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats (24oz): $3.79
-$0.75 Bob’s Red Mill cpn
=$2.29 = $1.53/lb

Cascadian Farms Frozen Spinach: $1.42
-$0.75 Cascadian Farms cpn
=FREE!

Silk Almond Milk (1/2 gal): $2.99
-$0.55 Silk cpn (here’s a $1.00 one)
=$1.89 = $3.78/gal

Whole Foods

Earthbound Organics Power Greens (16oz): $3.99 (sale price)
-$0.75 EB Farm cpn
=$3.42/lb

Olivia’s Organic Spinach (16oz)
-$1.00 Olivia’s Organics cpn
=$1.99/lb

That’s it loves.  Don’t forget to let me know if you want me to continue doing food budget posts once the project ends!

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

Project: Food Budget, Week 46

So finals start tomorrow (!), a fact which I embarrassingly enough didn’t even know until Monday since I had put an older version of the academic calendar into my editorial one.  Between this fact + getting in late on Sunday from Passion Power, let’s just say my eating this week was less than ideal.  And this post will be rather short….mostly because I’ve had a heavy case of the procrastination-blues for the past…well all week.

Tip of the Week

Rain checks are your friends!  Please remember this folks…please?  Because I didn’t this week and ended up paying twice as much for cherries as I would have if I had thought, “Hey, while I’m getting my money back for this coupon I forgot, I should also get a rain check for the cherries since this is the second day in a row that WF is out.”  <–didn’t happen.

Meal Plan

Well…there was a plan.  Once upon a time (aka Friday before I left for NJ).  And that plan got tossed out the window…partially because I got lazy and partially because WF was out of ingredients I needed.  <–see above

To stay semi-healthy and energized, I still had a green smoothie every morning.  However, cereal made an appearance for dinner at least twice.  And dessert made at least two appearances a day.  =/

Otherwise it was quickie meals.  For example, I made this Monday morning while I got ready.  I heated the water while I prepped the ingredients, cooked the lentils while I showered, then tossed everything else in while I finished getting dressed, packed, etc.  Averie’s one-pot meals are some of my absolute favorite because they are truly quick, easy, budget-friendly (I used only pantry items to make this), and chock full of amazing flavor. 

I also discovered that if you stir raw spinach into pasta (because WF ruined your plan to make this after you already cooked the most perfectly fluffy quinoa ever…) it wilts a little.  This is a big win folks.  It means you don’t have to dirty a second pan and you can get away with calling your pasta dinner healthy because it has greens in it.  <–you know you love me.  :)

Now onto that budgeting stuff.

Spending Savings

Whole Foods: $38.18  <–the price you pay when
Rite Aid: $4.24

Total: $42.42

I’m calling it a win.  Just go with it folks.  ;)

Savings: $11.22 (27%)  <–not too shabby for shopping on the fly, dontcha think?

My favorite deal this week was getting two packages of Ziploc bags for only $4 at Rite-Aid.  They were on sale 2/$5 and then I had a $1 coupon from one of the Sunday papers.  Even though I try not to use baggies too much (and totally wash-and-reuse until they fall apart), sometimes you need them for storing things in the fridge and freezer.

That’s all folks.  Hope my feisty-ness didn’t scare anyone…that’s just my Inner Passion DIVA being coy.  Or something like that.  ;)

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

 

 

 

Obsessed with Alter Eco


As you might remember, a few months back I featured Alter Eco as my business of the week.  I fell in love with everything about this company, from their products to their philosophy to their willingness to send me and one of my readers a gift basket of delicious goodies.  A special thanks goes out to the company for their general awesomeness + generosity.

I also promised them that I would review the products… In between then and now I moved twice, expanded my business, and started grad school.  The products they sent are mostly gone but my love for them has yet to diminish in the slightest.

My current stash -  the red rice and Blackout bars are my most recent additions.  There have been others.  ;)

So without further ado, lets get reviewing!

Quinoa

Their quinoa is by far my favorite.  Its a little pricer than most others but 100% worth it (ad Common Kindness has coupons).  I usually buy the white to be most cost effective but have been dying to try out the other colors for some time now.  Luckily, they included the red in their gift basket to me and let me tell you, it makes for a much better presentation.

Taste-wise, both red and white have that nutty characteristic taste that quinoa fans adore and which lends itself to use in both sweet and savory dishes.  Its delicious hot or cold and can take on the flavor of whatever you cook it in.  As an added plus, I also find that I don’t have to rinse the Alter Eco quinoa quite as much as other brands.

Thai Sticky Rice

Part of my reason for delaying this review is that I had a helluva time with this rice, well, sticking.  It took me three or four tries before I was able to not totally lose it to the bottom of the (stainless steel) pan.  I followed the instructions to a T but what finally worked for me was following the “Flavor Tip” on the back of the package: toasting the rice with a touch of oil before cooking it.  The rice didn’t stick to the pan and I didn’t feel it was as sticky to itself.

Sauteed arugula, Thai Sticky Rice, and Refried Beans

In my opinion, the rice has a more complex flavor than brown rice.  In addition, its cooking time is much shorter than that of brown rice, which means you can actually make it a bit more o-the-fly.  Win/win.

Chocolate

Alter Eco sent me a variety of chocolate bars including Dark Quinoa, Dark Mint, Dark Coconut Toffee, and a milk bar.  Oh my word these were all amazingSeriously, go out and buy them now.  And then hide them so you can’t finish it all in one sitting.  Except for the milk bar but that’s because I don’t really like milk chocolate at all.  In fact, I’d prefer to go without chocolate period.

Now that that’s established… ;)  The Dark Coconut Toffee was my favorite and I think it lasted approximately two days.  <–in hindsight, not too bad  Next in line the Dark Mint (clearly since I bought a second bar), followed by the Dark Quinoa.  As you saw in the picture of my current stash, I recently purchased Dark Blackout.  Which, as expected, is amazing.  The chocolate isn’t too sweet or to bitter.  It is, however, smooth and full of tons of flavor.

I also love that each GIANT bar is technically only two servings, and with nutritional stats that won’t cause you to have a heart attack.  This makes me feel better when I eat 1/8-1/4 of the bar at a time  Quality ingredients –> good nutrients –> happy Kait.  :)

Final Rating

Let’s just say that I don’t see my obsession with Alter Eco ending anytime soon.  Their products have so much quality and spirit that I simply cannot say no.  Each product is incredibly unique and many are unlike anything I’ve found elsewhere in the grocery store.  You can 100% tell that you re eating something real by taste alone.  <–yes, it’s that good.  

I highly suggest you check out some Alter Eco products asap.  You won’t be disappointed.  ;)

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

All opinions expressed in this view are my own.  I am not affiliated with Alter Eco in any way.  No compensation was provided for this review other than the products to test.