Frugal February -Week 4 Menu & Shopping List

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.

Check out my menu for the week:  Emily’s Menu – Week 4

Stay warm! Spring is on its way!


Pan-Cooked Lentil Burger Recipe

This was one of the recipes I made last week.  It turned out really well and I am definitely going to make them again. They are great on buns with toppings like a regular burger but I also cut some up for salads. They would also be good for tacos and sandwiches. My toddler really liked them too which is always a good sign! Enjoy the recipe!


Yield: 12 burgers


  • 1 cup raw red lentils (soaked for 4 hours or overnight in water)
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup cashews or peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Drain water from soaked lentils. Put lentils into a food processor and dice until smooth. Scoop into a medium bowl.
  2. Dice onion with oats, cashews, and rice in the food processor (If using peanut butter you can add it directly to the lentil burger mixture in the mixing bowl). Add to the bowl and stir together.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the burger mixture and stir through.
  4. Heat olive oil (or coconut oil) in a pan on the stove on medium heat. Use spoon to scoop batter onto the pan and shape into burgers.  It is a little stickier than a hamburger but they cook up nicely and I didn’t have any trouble with them falling apart 🙂
  5. Cook 4-5 minutes/side or until cooked through.
  6. Enjoy however you want!

Nutrition Info for 1 burger (using USDA Nutrient Database):

Calories 132; Protein 4.8g; Carbs 12g; Fat 4.4g

Frugal February Challenge Week 1 – How did it go?

Week 1 of my Frugal February Challenge went pretty well!

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:

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I will post some recipes I made this week in separate posts after I do some marking…

Have a lovely Saturday!

Frugal February – How to Price Match at the Grocery Store

I am ready to start my Frugal February Fitness Challenge!

Here’s a little video I made about my grocery shopping/ price matching prep for tomorrow.  A huge thanks to my friend Coupon Christine for showing me her money-saving ways a couple years ago!  Sharing is caring!

My Sketetarian Ways

I have been an “on again, off again” vegetarian for at least the last 10 years.  Like so many things, I used to be pretty hard on myself about it but have come to accept that things aren’t black and white all the time (though even that is up for debate, depending on the way you see things/life).

At any rate, one of my friends (who happens to be a vegetarian) recently pointed out to me that there is a big difference between a “meatless” option and a vegetarian or vegan one.  This might seem obvious, but I started thinking about how this plays out in my life.  Unfortunately there tends not to be vegetarian protein options at many restaurants.  Not that I eat out very often but it is discouraging when your only option at Subway is a veggie sub that only has vegetables and sauce on it (or cheese if you are into that).  I guess if you eat eggs and don’t mind drowning in mayo, you can opt for the egg salad or one of the breakfast wraps (which are delicious BTW). Don’t get me wrong, I love Subway – it is actually one of the few fast food joints I will actually eat at but do I need to bust out a Tupperware container with my own tofu or tempeh to make it a complete meal?

On the flip side, I also don’t understand why people who eat meat need to eat it at every meal.  There are plenty of vegetarian meals that everyone enjoys regardless of their overall food choices.  Minestrone soup, bean salad, baked beans with rice, tabouli salad, curry with rice, oatmeal, toast and peanut butter….you get my point.  Unfortunately, this only adds to my frustration when I am on the road or out with friends and I am forced to choose between a processed vegetarian burger on a white bun, a garden salad, or something smothered in cheese.

My solution (for now)?  Order something healthy that has lean meat.  I would rather have something healthy and fresh than something processed or heart-attack worthy, regardless of the meat situation.  I realize this makes me a pretty sketchy vegetarian (aka sketchetarian) but I never said I was “perfect” at anything.  My main motivation behind eating a plant-based diet is lowering my carbon footprint and being healthier.

Living in a culture where eating meat is still the norm can sometimes make it challenging to be a vegetarian or a vegan.  I think it’s getting better with the recent gluten-free, raw food, cleansing, fasting, local food, organic, etc. trends because people are starting to think more about what they are eating and are trying to eat real food (which should not be a luxury or a challenge).  But for those of us who do not live in Toronto (or even a city at all) where options abound, it can be even more challenging to find suitable meals unless you make them yourself.  You may not agree with me but I would much rather eat a salad with chicken than without it and in all seriousness, I don’t run around with Tupperware containers in coolers anymore – instead I’ve got a diaper bag and a boatload of academic papers to read.  I don’t eat out that much anyway.

Anyway, I really hope that it does become easier to be a vegetarian and that people realize it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing choice all the time, especially if you are just beginning your adventure into plant-based nutrition.

~Live Inspired~!


Black Bean Garlic Pesto


This easy high-protein pesto packs a lot of kick and makes a delicious and versatile spread or sauce to pump up the volume on your everyday fare.  From sandwiches to pasta dishes,  this little number will jazz up your next meal.


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 clove of garlic (or more if you like)
  • 1 cup black beans (I soak and cook my own but you can also use canned)
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp UDO’s oil (high in Omega 3)


1. Gather all of your ingredients



2. Put everything into a food processor


3.Blend until smooth.


Enjoy!  Happy Monday!

~Live Inspired~!


Cinnamon Apple French Toast


This week I’m sharing a vegetarian breakfast recipe that includes farm fresh free-run eggs and Greek yogurt.  It was super easy to make and super delicious! A lovely treat after my shoulder and spin workout yesterday morning.  Enjoy!


  • 2 fresh eggs (free-run = happy chickens)
  • 2 slices of sprouted grain bread (I like Ezekial brand)
  • 1 small organic apple from a local farm
  • 2 Tbsp )% fat Greek yogurt (Liberte brand)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • drizzle of honey


1. Crack open the eggs into a wide bowl.  Add vanilla and cinnamon.  Beat with a fork until mixture is homogeneous.


2. Add olive oil to a frying pan and heat on medium.

3. Dunk bread slices one at a time into the egg mixture and let it soak in a little on both sides (bread should be completely coated).


4. Add to pan and cook until light brown on each side.


5. Chop apple.



6. “Plate” the dish by putting the french toast on a plate and topping with Greek yogurt and the chopped apple. Finish off by drizzling a little honey on top.




7. Enjoy!

~Live inspired~!