$100 Food Experiment : And so it begins

Spending just $100 on groceries for AN ENTIRE MONTH is...interesting. The first few days I just lived with the fact that when I opened the refrigerator door all I saw were tumbleweeds and a sad bag of limp carrots. Then I had a friend, her daughter, and her daughter's friend over for dinner. This means I would have to cook. With food. Also, the very next day I joined some lovely ladies for a cooking club sort of thing and I had to bring a dish. It also had to contain food. Que FREAK OUT.

After my mini panic I sat down, took stock of what food I did have and made my dinner menu for my guests from what was on hand. I choose burritos. Super easy, kid friendly and way easy to veganize. I had to buy tortillas, black beans (even though it turns out I had some already), limes and cilantro for the guacamole. I already had quinoa and salsa so I could make a high protein and fiber version of Mexican rice. My friend graciously bought the avocados, lettuce and chips.

As for my dinner the very next night I was responsible for the dessert so I choose to make chocolate mousse topped with strawberries. I had the silken tofu already (pantry staple) but I needed the strawberries and chocolate. Unfortunately the store only had the more expensive chocolate but I wasn't willing to go somewhere else to save a buck. Strawberries were on sale so I bought two tubs and kept one for us to eat. I told the ladies at dinner about what I was doing and the host of the dinner sent me home with a ton of fresh parsley and green onions that I've put to good use. I also brought home a serving of the main course she prepared (polenta topped with black beans and a tomato sauce, TASTY!!).

That one shopping trip cost $13.10 for food. That's actually quite a lot of money considering I barely got one meal out of the trip. But I now have extra cans of black beans, garlic (both that I've since put to use), red onion and we muched on those strawberries for two days.

Breakdown for $13.10:

Tortilla (whole wheat) 2.76
2 tubs of strawberries 3.76
Bakers chocolate squares 2.56
2 cans black beans 1.44
2 Limes .44
Garlic .32
Cilantro .38
Red Onion (they were more expensive than white but I prefer red) 1.44

Our next shopping trip was Sunday night. Sunday's are a great day to get in the weeks groceries. Unfortunately I didn't plan a menu or anything. I planned one meal and bought a few other things I knew we'd eat during the week. It was not as successful as it could have been. I ended up spending $43.35 in groceries.

It was an interesting shopping trip. I always buy organic spinach for salads but it was $5 for a tiny, insignificant tub so I got romaine instead. Not nearly as good for you, but better than iceberg, plus it was organic and half the price for twice as much. Lesson learned in that department. I did "splurge" and buy a few other organic items that cost more. I also needed canned beans for a bean salad that Derick requested. I intended on buying the Target brand canned beans until I read the label and they have High Fructose Syrup in them. WHY!? It's freaking beans, Target. Why do we need to add a sweetener to PLAIN BEANS?! I passed them up for a more expensive variety of organic beans with no sugar or salt added. I consider the extra expense an investment in mine and my kid's health.

We needed fruit so into the basket some went. I almost died on the spot when I saw how much I spent on cherries. $6.40. FOR CHERRIES. Literally, those cherries will last me 2-3 days max. They were even on sale! If I would have gotten the organic cherries that price would have doubled. I love cherries, though and I can only get the good, cheaper ones during the summer so I say whatever to that. I loved each and every one I ate last night.

As for veggies, I threw in some organic celery, a few Roma tomatoes and a big bag of organic carrots. I can make an entire meal from those things if I add some pasta or rice or quinoa.

Breakdown for $43.35

Cinnabon snack bar thingies (AKA why I never take my teenager shopping with me) 2.00
Special K bars (ditto above) 2.39
Organic Romaine lettuce 2.49
Organic ( I can't remember what this was for) .99
Organic celery 1.99
4 Roma Tomatoes 1.28
3 cans Vegetarian Baked beans (again for the teenager) 3.96
4 cans variety of Organic beans 5.24
Organic raspberries 2.49
Organic Carrots 3.99
1 lb strawberries 2.79
1 pint blueberries 2.79
2.57 lbs Cherries 6.40
Red onions 2.06
Organic Target brand soy milk 2.49

Total spent so far on both trips: $56.45

This leaves me $43.55 left to spend for the next 3 weeks. Here I am cheating again, though. Derick left to go back to his dad's house yesterday so I'll be feeding one less(insatiable) teenager so there's that. I have many a meal planned with beans, pasta and grains. I truly think I can do this. And I hope to do it well with different flavors and ingredients. I do not intend on eating boring, season less foods.

What we've eaten so far since this experiment started:


cereal with soy or rice milk
oatmeal, many different ways. I never buy premixed stuff, I like to make my own flavors
pancakes (homemade. I made a TON and froze a bunch)
fresh fruit*


Lots of leftovers. That's usually what I eat for lunch is the leftovers from the previous days.
Fresh veggie "stir fry"


bean soup with homemade cornbread
brown rice pasta with faux sausage, onions and butternut squash
bean salad composed of beans*, onion, parsley, celery*, salad dressing and frozen peas
burritos composed of tortillas*, quinoa Mexican rice, black beans*, guacamole*, and salsa
Yellow curry quinoa with fresh carrots*, cilantro, onions* and peas.


Fresh fruit
Leftover chocolate mousse

*if noted with the asterisk then it was purchased. Otherwise all ingredients I already had

The evolution of lunch

Remember that garden I planted? It's fed me well over the summer. I had a bounty of squash, tomatoes and red Swiss chard. Here, as evidenced by the photos, is the evolution of my lunch Sunday. I was searching the kitchen for lunch Sunday and remembered that I had yet to taste my Swiss chard I planted. I grabbed my camera and headed outside.

It occurred to me that I had no idea how to harvest chard so I just pulled from the ground.

I cut the roots off, evicted the two small tiny spiders and cleaned it all up. Ready for eating!

I decided on a medley of fresh veggies. Squash (from a previous garden harvest), yellow bell pepper and onion topped with a leftover papaya tomato bruschetta sauce.

Ready to eat. 80% garden harvested, 100% tasty.


$100: A food experiment

I have a confession. I spent entirely too much on food. It's a common myth that vegetarians and vegans spend more on food than non-vegetarians and vegans. Unfortunately I am doing nothing to show that this myth is false.

I don't need the faux meats or the fancy flours or the newest "vegan" labeled cookies. I just choose to buy them and it's getting a tad out of hand. I also love to cook so when I make a menu for the week I don't usually pay attention to the fact that I need 15 ingredients for each dish and none of them use the same ingredients.

A new kind of brown rice pasta (my new fav, by the way)? I must have it! Cherries are only $2.50 a pound? Who cares that I'm buying 7 pounds. I only have enough bread to last a month. I must buy more lest I run out! A new sauce I've never seen! I'll get one in every flavor! You can see how this would result in a larger than necessary grocery bill.

While I was out of town last week I had to stop by Trader Joe's to stock up. We aren't awesome enough to have a TJ's yet so it was a requirement that I stock up. When I got home and was unpacking my haul I realized I had no place to put my purchases. My pantry is stuffed with food. I could fee a family of 4 for 2 months, I'm sure. This is when my experiment was born.

For the next 30 days I will see if I can get by on only spending $100 (or $25 a week) on groceries. I realize I'm cheating a bit because I have a lot of staples already; pastas, rice, cereals, canned beans and other things I can utilize. But I figure I had that stuff before and I was still going out and spending an ungodly amount on food. The $100 will only include food and not things like cleaners or diapers or dog food other items I sometimes buy at the grocery store, just food for of the people variety.

I'll keep my receipts and detail out what I spend and post here. I'll also keep track of our meals for the next month and post those also. If nothing else, I can prove that it's not expensive to eat well (I hope). Also, the extra money can go toward my impending vacations.

If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it.


Vacation recap and other stuff

We're back from our vacation to St. Louis. I know, I know, I never even posted that we were going. Regardless, we're back and I'm sad that our visit was so short. Most of my close family lives in the St. Louis area. I was born not far from the gateway to the West. I have grandparents, cousins, aunt's, uncles, my biological dad, half sisters, a nephew and some other random assorted relatives in the area. You can imagine that we were SUPER busy with family activities. When I get to my grandma's house I breathe a sigh of relief because I feel like I've come to my second home.
We spent the week packing in as much as possible into our short little trip. We went to the St. Louis Zoo (it's free! and better than the Fort Worth Zoo), we floated on the Black River and I saw where my mom and biological dad jumped from rocks when they were just kids, we ate meals with family, took in downtown St. Charles (a fave spot of mine), went shopping at some local resale shops, got lost in the country, talked about family members that aren't with us anymore, laughed till we cried and generally had a grand time. It was an exhausting trip, in a good way, and I hated to board the plane to leave. I am counting the days till we go back. St. Louis and the surrounding areas are my home away from home and I highly recommend you visit. And when you do, please take me with you.
My niece, Sadie, turned the ripe old age of one while we were away and we partied like rock stars with her. She got her own little cupcake to chow down on and OH BOY did she go to town. Poor thing had icing all up her nose, I'm sure of it. You could tell she was all WHERE HAVE THESE SWEET CREATIONS BEEN ALL MY LIFE!?!?! She's so close to walking and she jabbers all about her life if you let her. Jackson LOVES to crawl around on the floor with her and try to pick her up. I can't wait for her to get a substantial amount of hair so I can fancy her all up with cute bows. Happy birthday Sadie Mo Pie, we love you!

I'm joining Weight Watchers again. I did so well the last two times losing the weight, I just have to maintain it. That's the hard part. This last week I blame eating with my Italian family (hello pasta!!) and eating out waaaaaay too much. Wish me luck, again.


Derick goes back to his dad's house in 6 days. I cannot even begin to describe how much I want to put my foot down and make him stay. I'm trying to cram in as much as possible in the next 6 days without breaking the bank. We've had a lovely time and I'm not ready for it to end just yet.
Tax free weekend is this upcoming weekend. It's that time of year where I'll buy a whole new wardrobe for Derick. I expect that my paid off credit card won't know what to do with itself.
Lastly, I have the best tan I've ever had.


Dating tips

Dear Derick,

You are 14-years-old now and I think it's time I impart some momma wisdom for when you start dating. I hadn't thought you were old enough for such advice, and I still think of you as 10-year-old, but after you sat outside with THREE GIRLS talking last night, I figured now was a good time.

  • First and foremost, be nice to girls. It's true that nice guys sometimes finish last and the bad guys finish first. But the nice guys get the good girls and in the end that's the most important thing. Trust me.
  • Don't make crass jokes to your friends about a girl that you like. You might think you're being cool but really you're just cutting down the girl you like and that seems counter productive, don't you think?
  • Be honest. If you just aren't into a girl then, nicely, let her know. Don't waste her time and yours just to avoid hurting her. Sure, it'll hurt, but better a little hurt than a huge, gigantic one that should have been coming for weeks, months or even years.
  • Laugh with her. Laughter really is the best medicine. Don't be afraid to make stupid jokes and see goofy comedies and just have fun. Don't worry what others are thinking.
  • Really take care of your girl. I don't mean buy her loads of stuff or wait on her hand and foot, I just mean take care of her soul. Make her feel special and desired and cared for. Let her know that you really and truly are present and aware.
  • Participate in the things she's passionate about. You may not be passionate about Pampered Chef products or the newest Justin Timberlake album but you can still help cook with the new cookware and take her to see her celebrity crush in concert and smile while doing it.
  • Follow through. If you say you're going to call, then do. If you say you're going to show up at a certain time, don't be late. If you say you love her, really mean it.
  • Don't put up with crap. If your lady treats you poorly, find a new one. You deserve to be treated well and nothing less.
  • Be confidant and be yourself. You're a great person and you should be proud of who you are. Don't change for anyone except for yourself.
  • Don't settle. If she's not the girl for you, then she's not the girl for you. Don't be in a relationship that makes you unhappy when you could be single and happy. Find the girl that makes you want to be a better person.
  • Girls like boys who treat their families well. It's an indication of who you'll be as a family man based on how you are with your own family.
  • Have fun. Take this advice and use it, but don't dwell so much on the details that you get bogged down. If you aren't having fun, it's not worth it.

There you have it, son of mine. I hope you find an awesome chick who thinks your an awesome dude. You deserve only the best.

Love, your momma


On a lighter note; TELEVISION!

Let's talk about television. Shows I'm watching, shows I'm waiting to start again, shows I can't get enough of and crappy shows that I can't stay away from. In no particular order:

The Next Food Network Star

The season finale was just yesterday and the person I wanted to win, did! I INHALE cooking shows of all kinds. Unless they feature live animals that have to be killed (I've seen many an Iron Chef show that I had to turn off).

The Rachel Zoe Project

Technically I'm not recording it right now because it's all re-runs but the new season is scheduled to start August 24 and believe you me, I've got that date entered into my calender to remind me to record it. Also, I wish Rachel would gain 10 pounds, I think she'd look WAY better. I've got some to spare!

What Not To Wear

I've seen almost every single episode and my love for Stacy and Clinton knows no bounds. I hear they've replaced Nick Arrojo which makes me extremely sad, I would have rather they replaced Carmindy. Not that I don't like Carmindy, I just, well, I'm ready for a new face of makeup.

Pushing Daisies

I love this show and can't wait to watch it this season. Oh wait, what's that you say? Bastards CANCELLED it?! I will never EVER get over this.

Ace of Cakes

I love Duff, what can I say? His laugh is infectious and MaryAlice is the bomb.

Real Housewives (especially NY)

I love a bit of drama that isn't mine and I just want to see what these rich people live like. I don't know why I've never watched the GA girls, probably because I saw a preview of some ridiculous fight and knew it was a bit too much drama for me. I follow Bethenny on twitter, I love her!

Get Fresh with Sara Snow

This is a cool chick. She has a whole show to eating well and treating the planet well and just being good to yourself and others. I stumbled across her show one day while recording various exercise shows.

Top Chef Masters

I told you I loved cooking shows. I love this one too, especially because I think it's awesome that some of these people were former judges. I'm SUPER excited about this weeks episode, they have to make an all vegan meal for Zooey Deschanel (love her!) and her friends. I only hope they don't make stupid cracks about steak and the like. I expecting an awesome show and maybe learn a thing or three along the way.

Antiques Roadshow

I've talked about my love of this show before and yes, I know it makes me totally nerdy and I'm cool with that. I hope to be on that show someday with some random object I picked up for $.50 and find out it's worth $400K. A girl can dream, right?

Whale Wars

These guys and gals are a bit crazy, but I commend them for sticking up for those who can't defend themselves. I wish they defended more animals like chickens and cows and other innocent animals. But then they wouldn't be in a cool, rickety boat, so there's that. Another thing I love about them? They eat only vegan meals on board. That makes my heart happy.

The Millionaire Matchmaker

I watch A LOT of Bravo shows it seems. I love Patti's no nonsense attitude. Although I do often wonder why she's not married to her long time boyfriend. I find that strange for someone who's job is to marry people off. P.S. I'm available!!

Project Runway

I cannot wait any long for this show to come back. Heidi and Tim are just my favorite. I'm more into the story lines than the fashion, but I do love drooling over or making fun of a designer's outfit.

Top Chef

ANOTHER cooking show, ANOTHER Bravo show. My cousin knows one of the contestants so that makes me more in the know, right? I only hope they don't have a meat butchering episode again. Vegan or not, that made me ill to watch.

Divine Design

Candice, if you read this, please come do my living room/kitchen! I don't live in Canada, but I can rent a snow machine and get some hockey players to come over and make you feel at home.

Ghost Whisperer

Oh JLH, you are totally cute and I want to be your BFF. Also, I've always thought you looked great, don't let those haters get you down.

Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood

I knew I'd hate this show when I watched it but it turns out that I LOVE it. Tori is so not like I expected. Call me what you will but I love this show.

Denise Richards: It's Complicated

Stars; they're just like us. Minus the permanent tan, the gorgeous hair and the gobs of money. Thank goodness I like Denise, she's just adorable.


I know I'm missing some shows, I'm sure of it. Tell me what you are excited to watch or are watching now? What should I add to my DVR?