Week 4 of my Frugal Challenge is finally here and I can’t wait to see February go! It’s been a cruel, cold month up here in Ontario and I am longing for spring flowers and playing outside!
Last week I wasn’t as organized as I wanted to be so this week I made a menu, selected recipes, and made a shopping list. This one is vegetarian and has simple meals that are easy, healthy, and delicious. It does take some time to do this kind of planning but I find it leads to less food waste (and money waste) and saves time during the week because I’ve already decided what I’m eating which makes packing lunches easier.
Last night I made this recipe from the cookbook Big Vegan – and it was awesome! I changed a few things – did not use 1/2 cup of white wine, added rosemary and thyme, and used soy sauce instead of miso. Here’s a picture of this fabulous dish:
I know I changed the recipe a little bit but I still don’t feel right posting someone else’s recipe. I bought this cookbook a few years ago and there are tons of good recipes in it that I wouldn’t necessarily think of. (Mostly I borrow cookbooks from the public library). Anyway, this recipe is posted here on VegKitchen.com. They also have fancy pictures 🙂 I’m not that fancy lol but it still tasted awesome!
So Week 2 of my Frugal February is here and I was WAY over budget today. There were a few staples that I needed to buy (oats, olive oil, quinoa, etc.) and I wanted to try a few things – like making seitan (aka “wheat meat”) that required special ingredients. Fresh salmon filets were also on sale so I bought 5 of them so I can freeze a few portions for later. Thankfully I have a PC Plus card and got $60 of free groceries today with my points! My total would have been $170 but it was only $110 🙂 Pretty close to the $100 weekly budget but I still feel like I’m kind of cheating. I’m starting to wonder if $100/week is really realistic if you want to eat well and have variety.
Price matching did save me a fair amount today – I got a pineapple for $1.99, English cucumbers for $0.99 each, and saved a few bucks on the sweet potatoes and grapes. I go to a cheaper store so many of the deals I had listed were already cheaper! My trip to Bulk Barn on the other hand was very expensive. One thing that I need to start doing again is making a Price List (a list of things I buy often and how much they are at different stores) so that I can see if it actually is cheaper at the bulk store.
Looking forward to trying out the seitan recipe from the cookbook “Big Vegan” by Robin Asbell! I will definitely write about that since it is seems super weird and I’m not sure that I’m going to like it but if it turns out then it will be a great meat substitute 🙂
I tried to take pictures of everything but wow – that takes a lot of effort to do that! I definitely ate more than what is in the pictures. Not in a stuff-my-face-and-try-to-hide-it kind of way. More in a I’m-really-craving-some-hummus-and-veggies-and-I-am-too-lazy-to-take-a-picture kind of way. I actually lost 2 lb this week 🙂
I haven’t been a big fan of tracking my food intake since I competed in a Fitness America Pageant forever ago but I actually did find tracking helpful to see patterns. For example, on Wednesday I didn’t eat my afternoon snack that I took to work and Thursdays I teach in the afternoon so I find that I get distracted and often don’t eat lunch. This week I am going to try to have lunch before my class and bring a shake for the break (which will allow me to still answer questions and discuss with students compares to say, a salad. I am going to be a little more diligent with using myfitnesspal to track my nutrition as well – it is SO easy to forget what you eat!
In terms of the budget plan, I caved yesterday and bought Tim Horton’s coffee for me and my co-worker ($3.40) and I did have to go buy coffee this morning ($7.99 for a bag of Ethical Bean on sale) so I am a little over budget for the week now but I enjoy my coffee and sometimes sharing is caring, especially after a long week of grant writing and editing.
Anyway, here is a run down of what I ate this week:
I will post some recipes I made this week in separate posts after I do some marking…
This high protein vegetarian meal is sure to make you smile and keep your waistline trim. Eating less meat saves you money and also reduces your impact on the planet – it takes a serious amount of food, land, and water to raise a cow.
Many vegetarian meals indiscriminately use carbs and fats, a combination that can leave you with extra inches around your waistline. In this recipe, I substituted ground beef with veggie ground round and black beans, and potatoes with mashed cauliflower. I also threw in some chopped kale for good measure. The results? Delicious! This is totally my new favorite recipe.
1 large head cauliflower
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
2 cups cooked black beans (~1 can if you don’t rehydrate your own)
2 cups chopped kale
2 large onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 pkg Veggie Ground Round (you can also use TVP if you prefer)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1-2 tsp chili powder (optional)
1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
Wash and chop cauliflower. Place in a pot with boiling water and cook until it is very soft (~20-30min)
Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Add oil, onions, garlic, celery. Saute 2-3 min.
Add chopped kale and mushrooms. Cook another 2-3 min.
Add beans and veggie ground round (break it up with a spatula). Heat through and remove from heat. Set aside.
Drain cauliflower. Mash with a fork or masher until smooth. Add cottage cheese and stir through. (For a smoother texture, you can also blend these together with a hand blender; also, to save doing more dishes, I complete this step in the pot).
Lightly oil a 9 x 9 pan (I used a spring-form pan because our 9 x 9 pan was full of protein bars setting in the fridge).
Pour frying pan mixture into the pan. Spread evenly.
Pour cauliflower mixture on top. Spread evenly.
Now bake at 350 degrees F for 30 min.
Turn oven to broil and bake 2-3 min longer, keeping a watchful eye. This will crisp up the top and turn it a golden brown colour (that’s when you know it’s ready!)
We’ve all done it one time or another…too much thanksgiving dinner (TMTD for short) is not the end of the world. Sure, you may feel tired and bloated and your loved ones may be running for cover (especially if beans were involved) but this will pass. How can you get back on track if you feel like you “blew it”?
1. You didn’t blow it. You had a feast. There is a difference. It’s not like you were curled up in bed by yourself with a bag of chips and a carton of ice cream all weekend! Get over yourself.
2. Get moving! You will feel better physically and mentally after you get your heart rate up and use up some of that extra energy. If you are following a regular exercise program, make sure you get back at it right away. Your body needs a dose of exercise at least every 48 hours to keep that metabolism in high gear.
3. Eat a little less for a day or two. The day after a big meal you may find you’re not even hungry until the afternoon. Listen to your body instead of force-feeding yourself breakfast. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. You may also want to cut down on portion sizes for a day or two after a big meal to help prevent fat storage.
4. Give away or throw out leftovers that you don’t want to eat. Keep the turkey and the sweet potatoes but let your neighbors have the gravy and the pie or freeze it for later. Just because you have it doesn’t mean you need to turn your whole week into a poor food choice marathon!
Week 4 of my Frugal February Challenge is finally here! Honestly, I can’t wait to say goodbye to this cruel, cold month (it’s been -30 in Ontario and too cold to play outside).
Last week I wasn’t the most organized so this week I made a menu, selected recipes, and made a shopping list. This one is vegetarian and has meals that are easy, healthy, and last a few days. With just me and my son it is a little easier to stretch meals (versus having a family of many to feed). Less cooking and cleaning = more time for other things 🙂