In Which Tofu Skyrockets Me Over My Grocery Budget…

Ok, not really.  We went over by 26 cents this week.  It’ll end up being about four bucks total because I forgot to add Jambalaya rice mix and FF Italian dressing to the list, despite the fact that I’m using BOTH of them tomorrow and just made the grocery list today.

I did my once-monthly Trader Joe’s run today…got two blocks of extra firm tofu, chipotle hummus, roasted garlic hummus, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, unsweetened vanilla rice milk, and four spring onion noodle soup bowls (my favorite processed meal).  Just over fourteen bucks.

This week’s menu plan is pretty simple:

  • Monday:  spiralized zuchinni “spaghetti” and homemade marinara sauce
  • Tuesday:  Vegetable jambalaya (we’re having friends over, and what better way to welcome them into our home than to burn their butts off in a flame of firey gas!!)
  • Wednesday:  Scrounge night
  • Thursday:  Chili.  I was dismayed this morning when I went to the freezer for some chili, to find that we didn’t have any.  I hadn’t made any since Christmas Day, but somehow, we always seem to have a neverending stash of chili in the freezer.  This must be remedied post haste.
  • Friday:  dinner with Joey’s parents
  • Saturday:  veggie fajitas
  • Sunday:  TBD

Since Sunday is the big V-day, and we’re having a friend over, I’m still thinking about how to glam the night up for her.  Joey and I are pretty nontraditional when it comes to holidays…we don’t do the big V-day thing…I just think it’s stupid to wait for two hours to get a seat at a restaurant when we could just go out the next weekend and not have to deal with the masses.  Joey concurs, so we’re having our friend Katie over for some (TBD) good food and fun!

I actually folded laundry tonight.  After a most excellent workout, spiralizing zuchinni, making marinara sauce, and showering.  Totally productive evening!

I leave you with a precious-Kins-shot:

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Food Budget/Meal Planning Update

Food Budget Update:  Thus far, we’ve been under $50 each week for groceries…success!  We’re at $50 for takeout this month; we bought our friend Cory’s dinner last night, which put us at $20.  I’m not planning takeout for the next week because my tummy has been upset today…I’m gun-shy now;).

Meal Planning Update:  This week wasn’t so good for the meal planning stuff.  I picked a couple of items that weren’t wins and then had a night or two where I didn’t feel like what I’d planned.  I think that flexibility is a good thing, but I don’t want to be too much into doing that, so I tried to make this week a little more exciting:

Meal Plan, 1/25-1/31

  • Monday:  Tofu stir-fry (served over eith brown rice or rice noodles)
  • Tuesday:  Roasted Root veggies and brussels sprouts (carrots, onions, potatoes)
  • Wednesday:  Scrounge Night
  • Thursday:  Spiralized Zuchinni with Marinara sauce
  • Friday:  Brown Rice Veggie Burgers
  • Saturday:  Cream of Broccoli Soup
  • Sunday:  Linguine with garlic cream sauce

Tomorrow night, I’m making sweet potato gnocchi.  I forgot to buy spaghetti last week and I have a bag of sweet potatoes just begging to be made into gnocchi for the playoffs!!

The Haze of Burning Sweet Potatoes

They smell freaking terrible:(.  I decided tonight that the Mexican Pizzas didn’t sound all that good and Joey observed that we were a little low on cheese anyway, so I decided that I just wanted some oven-roasted sweet potato chunks.  Joey agreed to make them while I was finishing up a reading assignment and I told him to roast them on about 475*.  I didn’t realize that he was going to dice them so small, so when I finished my book, I asked him if he thought they were ready, and they were tiny, black, charred nuggets:(.  There were a few salvageable ones, but I put them in the fridge and the narsty burnt-sweet potato smell turned me off on that dinner choice.  So…eh….I sent Joey to Taco Bell for a salad for me (Fiesta salad, no meat, guac added).  It came out to $7.  This brings us to $30 in takeout total in January.  I was disappointed in myself for wanting takeout, but when I looked at the total, we’re really right on schedule!

Monday night’s Corn Chowder was INCREDIBLE!!

Here’s the recipe.  I didn’t adjust too much; I did use cornstarch instead of flour as the thickening agent.  Unless you’re making a roux, I don’t know that just chucking flour into a pot of soup is a good idea, and I didn’t want to use butter and whatnot.  The cornstarch worked just fine!

Tuesday night was spicy baked potatoes (again) which Joey made, and last night, we hit the leftovers.  We also made it to the gym on Monday and Tuesday (we planned to go tonight, but it was monsooning outside and we just decided to stay in).

School is kicking my tail a little.  I read a novel on Tuesday and another one Wednesday.  We also had a half-day of corporate training today, about excellent customer service.  Good info, but a long time away from my desk, which left me in a panic the rest of the day trying to get caught up.

Knitting news:  I’m working on a bell-sleeved shrug.  I haven’t had time to knit on it since last weekend.  I want to be able to knit some more on it soon.  I’d like to be able to wear something that I make.

Weekly Menu Plan and Budget Update

On this beautiful MLK day, we finished our grocery shopping after a good, hard workout at the gym!  We came in just under the wire at $49.  I was a little worried that we weren’t going to make it, but we managed!  About $30 of the groceries were from Aldi with the other $19 being from Wally World.

Takeout confessions:  Saturday night, I had an incredible hankering for Taco Bell, and Joey went and got dinner for us.  It only ran us $8, so I don’t feel bad about that at all.  I got a salad with no meat.  They gave us cinnamon twists for free:).  Today, we had lunch at Chipotle, which ran us $14.68.  I wasn’t thrilled with the price, I’ll be honest.  Qdoba is much more affordable and has more options, so I’m not seeing a lot of Chipotle in our future, but we’d been wanting to try it and we like to do special things like meals out when I have a day off.

Here’s our Menu Plan for this week:

  • Monday:  Corn Chowder
  • Tuesday:  Spicy Baked Potatoes
  • Wednesday:  Leftovers/Scrounge night
  • Thursday:  Mini Mexican Pizzas
  • Friday:  Possibly Takeout…if not, I’ll improvise something
  • Saturday:  Tofu “lo mein” with the rice noodles we bought
  • Sunday:  Spaghetti with marinara sauce + breadsticks + salad

When I planneed the takeout night, we hadn’t gotten any takeout at all in January, so I may decide that we should do something here rather than get takeout, but, since we were so far under budget on our Taco Bell takeout, I won’t be really upset with myself if we do.

And, for your viewing pleasure, I give you Shelli in a snuggie/Vellux sandwich:

Homemade Pizza, Snuggies, Bullies, and Laser Shelli

I know, you’re thinking….”can it get any more random than the title of this blog?” 

Tonight’s planned dinner was homemade pizza!  After the crappy crust that I made last week, I was determined that I was going to do the whole shebang…yeast, flour, endless kneading, hours of rising time, more kneading…and so on.

I used this recipe but did 3 cups white flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour rather than the 5 1/2 to 1/2 ratio (to add a little fiber).  It only calls for one “rising time” of about an hour, and we had to run out for a little while, so the wait didn’t seem so long.

On the first, we used:  spaghetti sauce, green/red peppers, onion, mozz, parm, garlic powder, parsley, red pepper flake, basil/oregano

On the second, we used:  no sauce, onions, artichoke hearts, thinly sliced tomatoes, feta cheese, parm, parsley and garlic powder.

This is the “white pizza.”  HOLY COW!!  I thought Joey was going to grab the pan and run!

On Snuggies:  I have mercilously made fun of them…until yesterday.  Joey and I are both in our Snuggies.  They are incredible and warm and wonderful and Shelli loves being between the Snuggie and the Vellux blanket.  Joey won’t let me take a picture of him because he’s a tiny bit ashamed;).  I’ll steal a pic, though.

On Bullies:  I had an interaction (a very veiled and not really direct one) with a former frenemy/bully the other day that left me feeling very happy about where I am in my life and that I don’t live my life feeling like I never get “what I’m owed,” and that everyone is out to “keep me down.”  What a toxic attitude; that kind of attitude pervades every walk of life, you know?  You can talk all day about how progressive and well-off and “satisfied” you are, but none of that comes across when it’s all tempered with a healthy dose of paranoia.  I’m glad, not only to no longer have to deal with that influence in my life, but also that I’ve come to a point now where I don’t really give a rip what other people think about me.  I wish I had had that strength three years ago.

And the Laser Shelli thing?  I pissed her off earlier today and she gave me the evil-laser-eye:

Grocery Budget Win, Dinner Win, Fitness Win

Ah…I finally had a day where I wasn’t super-overwhelmed by school and work and home and just everything.  Once I got my discussion posts done for yesterday, I was feeling pretty good, but now that I’m done with my one for my Asian American Lit class too, tonight’s gonna be a good night!!

Despite my misjudgment of the cheese situation, we still came in at under $45 for the week in groceries.  I’m really happy about this; this’ll be the second full week that we will have eaten all of our meals at home and avoided takeout.  We’ve had a couple of shifts this week as far as the menu plan went, but I’m doing my best not to get all perfectionist-paranoid on myself and to remember that it’s just a blueprint and that the important part is that we’re cooking and that we’re eating better.

I made falafel again tonight and made a few changes; I used cornmeal instead of the flour and I added two very big cloves of garlic.  It was still pretty good.  And here’s a food pic for you:

Yeah, I know…it looks kind of weird and gross.  It’s a Pumpkin Pancake!  After we did Brinner on Sunday night, I started thinking about how much healthier it would be to use something like solid-pack pumpkin in place of the liquid with the pancake mix.  So, the next morning, I took about 1/2 cup pancake mix, 1/2 cup solid pack pumpkin and a little sweetener (and just a splash of water) and made some very thick batter.  I had to actually smoosh the pancake out on the griddle  so it’d be thin enough to cook.  I added a little sugar-free maple syrup and Da-yam was this good!  I’ve done it twice this week and I’ll probably do it again tomorrow since I have a little pumpkin left to use.  Next, I’m going to try it with some of the frozen b-nut squash that I cooked back during my kidney stone debacle.

And my final triumph for the night?  We finally got back to the gym!  I almost punked out at the last minute, but Joey told me that, since I was already dressed and had tied my shoes (and was about a foot from the door), it was too late to back out.  I was glad that we went; I did the Random Hill program on the recumbent bike for about half an hour (set at Level 8…my calves are dying).  We also ran into two friends whom we hadn’t seen in a while!  We won’t go tomorrow because Katie’s coming over, but we’ll definitely head back Saturday.

That’s all I’ve got today, peeps.  It was a pretty decent day!  I’m always thrilled for those, especially since they’re happening more frequently these days.

Last Week’s Menu Wrap-up and Menu Plan for the Week

My original menu plan for last week:

  • Sunday:  Falafel and Salad
  • Monday:  Veggie Fajitas
  • Tuesday:  Veggie “Fried” Rice
  • Wednesday:  Leftovers
  • Thursday:  Calzones (homemade dough)
  • Friday:  Japanese Soba Soup
  • Saturday:  Spicy Potatoes

Here’s what we ended up having:

  • Sunday:  Falafel/salad
  • Monday:  Fajitas
  • Tuesday:  leftovers/scrounge night
  • Wednesday:  Veggie “fried” rice
  • Thursday:  noodles and cheese
  • Friday:  Homemade pizza (with homemade whole-wheat crust)
  • Saturday:  Spicy baked potatoes/salad

So, not too bad…we stuck to the plan very well, and even when we didn’t, we used things that we had at the house and didn’t run out for takeout or to buy anything else at the store.

This week’s plan:

  • Sunday (today):  Brinner (eggs, pancakes, maybe homefries)
  • Monday:  Cabbage and Rice
  • Tuesday:  Falafel (by Joey request.  I’ll be tweaking the original recipe)
  • Wednesday:  Leftovers/scrounge
  • Thursday:  Spinach/mushroom macaroni bake
  • Friday:  Sweet potato gnocchi
  • Saturday:  Veggie Fajitas
  • Sunday:  Homemade pizzas, one white and one regular.

Today is grocery shopping day; I’ve got my list ready!