Week 3 Food Budget Challenge & Cashew Almond Oat Bars!

Week three of my food budget challenge was a success! I spent $133.85! I actually can’t believe I got it so low. I probably will be much, much closer to $150 this week. As it comes closer to Friday I can feel I spent so little because our fridge is looking a tad bare.

Like I said before I’ve been making a list of things I need (and some wants) and then writing the approximate cost of the item. Since I go to Trader Joe’s so much I basically know the cost of most things I buy there. I’ve been buying mostly the same things but switching up things like vegetable of the week (right now usually cauliflower or asparagus) and meat.

I’ve also realized that in order to make it work I have to pick one cheese (usually feta or mozzarella) and not buy all the vegetables. I know it may seem obvious but apparently it wasn’t to me. I LOVE cheese so it’s very easy to throw feta, mozzarella and shredded cheeses in my cart.

This past week some food highlights were:

Maple pork chops

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Baked spiralized zucchini and baked pasta (I was experimenting. Came out tasting yummy but not worth a recipe write up.)

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Breakfast for dinner (eggs and bacon)

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Whole roasted chicken
Huge salad with spiralized cucumber and red onion (currently obsessed with doing this)

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Oat bars (made these for Danny so he would have another breakfast option besides chia pudding and almond banana muffins).

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Thursdays have become our staple breakfast for dinner night. And if we’re home on Saturdays we typically make quesadillas.

Sundays we’ve gone to my moms for dinner the past three weeks so we’ve been spoiled with good food that wasn’t in our food budget.

I made these oat bars because I wanted to have something we could eat for a quick breakfast or a snack. In my food budget challenge I’m basically doing a pantry clean out as well, because I’m only buying ingredients (I mostly) really need. You can mix in whatever you have. In my case it was almonds, coconut, hemp and chocolate chips. Freeze dried fruit would be great too.

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One more week on this food challenge!

Just have to take a second to remember a very, very special person. Today would have been my Aunt Louise’s birthday. It’s such a bittersweet day and although I think of her every single day, I’ll be doing a little something special today in remembrance of her. It’s been a little over 5 years since I’ve been able to hug her, it feels like a lifetime, but I can still hear her voice and smell her perfume. Do me a favor and treat yourself extra nice today because that’s what she would have wanted.

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What We’ve Been Eating

Another week of food down. Last week I realized I needed to limit my new meals per week and I basically did that.

Some of our meals/snacks this past week were:

A whole chicken, which then turned into homemade chicken soup. Check out my quick youtube video on how to roast it.

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Banana Chocolate Chip muffins from PaleOMG. I made a couple changes: added 1/3 cup oats, 2 tbsp ground flax, 2 tbsp turbinado sugar + 2 tbsp maple syrup (instead of just maple syrup) and left out the walnuts. Liv’s been eating these for breakfast all week, so I need to make another batch!

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2 sunny side up eggs over sauteed kale with some bacon

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Broiled tofu over salad (drizzle cubed tofu with olive oil and sprinkled with TJ 21 seasoning salute)

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5 Ingredient Bacon Brussel Sprout Slaw also from PaleOMG (and no I’m not Paleo, I usually eat these meals with rice or another grain) I couldn’t find shaved brussels at TJ’s this week, so I bought broccoli slaw. I used broccoli slaw and added in zucchini and mushrooms.

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Brittany did a great post on the anatomy of a weekly meal plan. I’ll be taking her advice and only trying to make 1-2 new meals a week.

Also check out Lindsay’s Pin It Party for some snack and recipe inspiration! I want to make just about everything on her post today.

What have you been eating lately? Have a favorite snack or dinner?

 

Chocolate Strawberry Almond Nut Balls and other random things!

We’ve had such a great weekend/week here, that it’s left me with no time to blog. A couple of my college friends came down from Boston to visit, so we were very busy Monday and some of Tuesday. I’ve also been preparing for a huge road trip we are taking. This weekend I baked/prepared apple walnut muffins, 2 types of nut balls and chia oatmeal breakfast cookies from Brittany.

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They all came out great. I based the muffins on this blueberry muffin recipe and just left out the blueberries, used a generous cup of applesauce and added 1/3 cups of walnuts.

For the nut balls, I basically just threw ingredients in the food processor until it processed into a large ball.

Other random things:

  • I made pizza for my friends. Yum. If you aren’t making your own pizza, you should try it! You’re missing out!
  • I’ve switched from Seventh Generation diapers to Huggies Little Movers. Seventh Gen was making Liv leak EVERY TIME. I could change it every hour and it was still leaking. I was beyond frustrated and decided to switch. I plan on calling the company again and talking to them about it. (I called once and they sent me a larger size to try, unfortunately it didn’t solve the problem.)
  • I’m on week 7 out of 8 of Best Body Bootcamp. Sad it’s almost over. I’ll be participating again for sure. I absolutely feel stronger especially this round.
  • Liv’s second tooth popped through on Tuesday. I’m looking forward to a break until the next ones start coming in.
  • Olivia stood today for a couple of seconds (2 or 3?) She’s really working hard on trying to walk. She is just started to be able to walk only using one hand for help. It’s such an exciting time!

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Food Lately: From (Italian Wedding) Soup to (Granola Crusted) Nuts

Up before Olivia today…I can’t decide if that means I’m rested…or just delirious. A little sleep update: She’s been sleeping MUCH better, however, she’s boycotting her crib. She would much rather sleep in her rock n’play. We’ve been starting her out in her crib and then by 12:30-1, she’s totally had enough of it and will NOT stay asleep. I’m NOT giving up on her crib..obviously and soon I’m taking the rock n’play out of her room so it’s not an option. She slept through the night for the first time Sunday night from about 11-5:30.

This weekend I spent time doing some cooking and baking. My sister and cousin came over and hung out with Liv, while Danny and I made a bunch of food and snacks. I will ALWAYS find something to eat because I’m at home…but if Danny doesn’t have snacks then he’ll just go all day without eating (besides lunch).

I made a twist on these granola crusted nuts from Smitten Kitchen. Maybe I’ll share my recipe one day. :) Thanks to Kristan for sharing that recipe with me!

Then there was these doughnuts…(OMG SO GOOD). My aunt made these for Thanksgiving and they were amazing. I didn’t put any glaze on top though.  They are GF and grain free, but I really just made them for the delicious factor.

I made the following adjustments:

  • I doubled the recipe. (Yielded 8 mini muffin loaves)
  • Substituted 1/3 cup turbinado sugar for stevia.
  • Added 1/3 cup almond meal.
  • Used a mini muffin loaf pan because I didn’t have a doughnut pan.
  • Added mini chocolate chips (just sprinkled some on top before they went in the oven)
  • Baked for 22 minutes.

Next on the agenda was whole wheat naan.  I haven’t made this in FOREVER. It was worth the work. We kneaded it by hand (well Danny did). They came out perfect and paired so well with our soup and salad for dinner….and lots of butter.

I also made (again) Jessica’s warm winter chickpeas salad. (It’s the top of the plate!) I adjusted the recipe mainly because I made it from memory because I was too lazy to look it up.

I made the following changes:

  • Used shaved brussel sprouts from Trader Joe’s
  • 2 cans chickpeas (15 oz.)
  • Used turkey bacon
  • omitted the mushrooms
  • omitted the pecans
  • 1 tbsp butter instead of 2 tbsp

I WISH I didn’t forget the mushrooms, but it was still delicious.

Also on the menu was this Italian Wedding Soup. I used a little less than 2 cups (frozen) kale instead of spinach this time. I made a lot of this and it fed 5 people with leftovers enough for 3 dinners. LOVE leftovers even more these days.

So that’s a wrap for what I made on Sunday. I used to be a big food prepper on the weekends and I’ve fell off the bus a bit because I eat lunch and snacks at home. It felt good to get back in the kitchen and make food I can just grab during the week AND so Danny could have snacks too. I hope at least one of these recipes inspires you to do a little weekend prep to make the week healthier AND easier!

What’s your favorite meal or snack to prep on the weekends?