Posts tagged ‘Cost of meals’

Fresh Monday

Even though my Saturdays feel like Tuesdays and my Wednesdays feel like Sundays, I can still relish the “tabula rasa” feeling of the start of a new week.  I thought to commemorate this freshness, I should take a photo of everything I eat so as to motivate myself not to eat half a jar of MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Peanut spread.  Let’s see if my theory works.

For Breakfast, I had some vanilla yogurt with blueberries and walnuts…

Along with a slice of plain no-knead bread I baked yesterday with cherry jam.

I am trying to figure out how much it costs to bake a loaf of no-knead bread.  A 2.5 kg bag of all-purpose flour is about $3.50.  The Internet tells me that there are 20 cups of flour in a bag, and if the bread recipe calls for 3 cups of flour, there is $0.53 worth of flour in a loaf.  With 1/4 teaspoon of yeast and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, along with the energy needed to heat the oven at 450F for 45 minutes, I am going to say it costs about 85 cents to bake a loaf of this amazing bread.  A lot cheaper than the $4 or so this would cost from a bakery, plus no added benefit of a house that smells like a bakery!  In conclusion, the frugal life is the good life.

For lunch, I had a green salad with some leftover bean salad on top!  This salad was made exponentially better by the fact it included avocado.  It was made exponentially more complicated in that I was wearing Henry who refused to let me sit down, thus I had to eat it while standing up and trying not to drop salad dressing on his head (Which I did anyway).

Along with a plain old smoothie!  Since I used my spinach in my salad, I just had a smoothie made with:

1 cup of almond milk

4 large frozen strawberries

1/2 banana

1/2 cup fresh pineapple

1 tablespoon of ground flax seed

It was nice to have a smoothie that didn’t look like sludge

I plan on having leftover lasagna, bean salad, steamed vegetables, and a whole wheat bun for dinner.  Possibly a spoonful of crack, i.e. chocolate peanut butter, for dessert.  I would try taking a picture but a certain someone keeps me pretty busy in the evening hours so I doubt I’ll be online.

He recently discovered the fact that he has hands!  Very exciting in the F ‘n’ F household!

There is also that Heavy show on A&E tonight.  Watching TV involving morbidly obese people always helps keep my snacking habits in check.


Since the New Year, I’ve been diligently keeping track of my budget and have been saving quite a bit.  I give myself $80 a week for miscellaneous purposes, and have proudly amassed $316.  We’ve been wanting to get extra insulation put into our attic to save on heating and cooling costs, plus we will get some money back from the government because of an energy audit we had done last year.  The cost to have the insulation put in?  $850.  Split between the two of us, that’s $425 (I am so good with math eh?).  So my awesome $316 is already spent, plus I am in the hole $109 (told you I was good with math).  Luckily I’ve got plenty of savings, but still.  Adulthood is the pits!  I want to blow my money on candy bars and skip-its instead!

On the plus side, being an adult means I get to have cats and babies.  Even better, I get a cat who thinks he’s a baby!

One diaper I won’t be changing anytime soon


January 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm 10 comments

Walnut Raisin No-Knead Bread

Like most other citizens of the world, I love baked goods.  Specifically, I am a fan of donuts, croissants, danishes, and bread.  I also love cookies and cake, but DCDB (Donuts Croissants Danishes and Bread!) take the cake (pun!).  The very best croissant I’ve ever had in my entire life can be purchased at Jules Patisserie on Mount Pleasant Road here in Toronto.  I have been to Paris twice, yet the chocolate almond croissant from Jules is singlehandedly the best thing I have ever consumed.  I used to live within walking distance of this bakery and made it a habit to go there every Saturday morning to buy one each for me and Husband.  A couple of months before we moved, I stopped going because I was trying to be healthy.  Big mistake!  HUGE!  Words to the wise:  When one lives within walking distance of the best croissants in the world, it is advisable to take advantage of the close proximity.

We all have regrets, rights?

I am telling you this story to clearly convey my LOVE of baked goods.  I’ve never tried making croissants, donuts or danishes before because 1) I don’t have a deep fryer and 2) handling pastry is a scary prospect, but I have attempted baking loaves of bread on many occasions.  Making yeast breads is tough, though!  It’s so hard to get them to rise.  But there is one fool-proof way to make a successful loaf of bread all on your own.  The key words, my friends, are NO KNEAD.

Perhaps you are familiar with the No-Knead bread recipe that was popularized by Mark Bittman in the New York Times in 2006.  If you aren’t, I recommend you read the linked article.  It could possibly change your life.  After reading that article, read this one.  It’s the one I read earlier this week on the Huffington Post app, most likely while breast-feeding in the middle of the night!  I liked how the author said she starts making it before going out on Friday night, and it’s ready by late Saturday morning.  Something about that little routine really appealed to me, so I decided to start my own loaf last night!

A little delirious by exhaustion; a little excited by imminent complex carbohydrates

It was truly a perfect night for bread baking, as we were dumped with a load of snow.  It turned the sky orange, which is the single best thing about winter.

Winter out my Window

The ingredients are so simple and so frugal!  A recipe after my own heart.

3 cups of flour

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2/3 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1 2/3 cups water

Cornmeal or more flour as needed

I followed the directions closely, but made a couple of substitutions.  I don’t have kosher salt, so I just used regular.  It calls for Thompson raisins and I just used regular raisins.  Maybe they are Thompson raisins?  I have no clue.  I am not brand savvy when it comes to my shriveled grapes!  It also says to bake it in a dutch oven or Le Creuset.  Too rich for my blood, so I just used a casserole dish.  I never covered it because Husband broke the glass lid years ago, so I just never covered it.

I like how the recipe describes the dough as soft and ugly.  I don’t know if I am just a carb fiend, but I have never seen an ugly dough!  All dough is beautiful and should be accepted exactly as it is.

You complete me

I left my non-ugly dough to rise overnight for 12 hours which – might I add – was one of those nights where the baby doesn’t want to sleep much.  Oy with the poodles already!  By the time I was ready to stick this in the oven, I was anxious to get my carb on.

And get my carb on I did

This bread is stunning.  It is crisp and crunchy on the outside, and so soft and doughy on the inside.  The walnuts and raisins are the perfect addition of salty and sweet.  If you bought this loaf in a bakery, you’d easily pay $4 or $5.  By my somewhat inaccurate calculations, I would place the cost of materials at under $1.  As I lay in bed last night, in between “Henry eruptions”, I thought of other combinations you could use in place of the walnuts and raisins.  You could try dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds and chunks of dried apricot.  I am excited by the possibilities.

Warning:  This bread is addictive.  Consider yourself warned.

January 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm 2 comments

Lazy Afternoon

It is totally normal to take pictures of the TV while you are watching it, right?

Season 1:  Sookie is asking Jackson out over the phone!

Before that evil Jess arrived on the scene!

This is what happens when I am left alone for an entire day.

So this afternoon, I watched too much TV and finished off the rest of that MEGA SANDWICH.  It was fantastic!  (Have I mentioned that?)  For dinner, I knew I wanted to go low on the carbs and high on the veg, so I made up a veggie and fruit plate.  To increase the protein, I whipped up some hummus!

I just use a basic recipe including:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 pinch of cumin
  • bit of ground black pepper

Just blend it all up in a food processor!  It is so much cheaper than buying hummus at the store.  I estimate that this entire batch cost about $1.25 or so to make.  I once told husband to shoot me if I ever purchased store bought hummus again.  I hope he realized I was using hyperbole 😉

I was so proud of my plate.  Check out the colour!

Broccoli, carrots, cherries, 2 apricots, crackers, almond butter, and hummus

I was hungry about an hour after eating this, so I finished up the rest of the baked pasta which was about 1 cup worth.

I was most excited about my plans for dessert:  Chocolate Cherry Bomb!  How else to live it up on a Saturday night?

  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • Topped with cacao nibs for extra antioxidant purposes, and also texture and flavour purposes 🙂

I think this was the best one yet!  I really love almond milk in my smoothies.  This is the revelation for the day.

Hey, look, a new centre piece!

Table by Ikea.  Centre piece by Cuteness.

Cheaper than flowers…kind of 😉

July 3, 2010 at 7:48 pm 5 comments

Busy morning

Sorry for the delay!  It’s been a busy morning so now I am doing some mid-day decompressing by participating in the much-loved Saturday combo of coffee/Gilmore Girls/laundry/blogging.  Multi-tasking at its finest!

I began the day by grocery shopping and bought my usual supply of bananas, bagels, and battlestar galactica (ok, obviously not, but it starts with a “B”)  Unfortunately, the grocery store was out of the big tubs of baby spinach AND frozen mango so I was unimpressed.  I bought a little 5 oz container of spinach which will last me until tomorrow, maybe.

As soon as I got home, I made a Green Monster!

I started drinking this before I remembered to take a picture!

It contains:

  • 1 cup of 1% milk
  • 1 cup of frozen peaches
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 handful of spinach

I would have liked to have added more spinach, but I need to conserve what I’ve got!

Husband was on his way to his bud’s, so I hitched a ride to the subway so I could go downtown to the market and Harbourfront.  It is a stunning day so I wanted to spend a lot of time walking outside.  Exercise, Vitamin D, fresh air, and baked goods were what I was pursuing, although not necessarily in this order 🙂

I loooooooove the St. Lawrence market, even though it is packed with people.  I just love the vibe of it all.

I didn’t want to weigh myself down with too much produce since I have to carry everything on my bod, so I just bought a couple of baked goods:  an apricot zucchini bran muffin and a date scone!  I had the date scone for a late breakfast while sitting outside in the sun:

It was buttery, rich and dense with tons of dates in it.  Perfect!  I bought it from a baker that is part of the “North” market so it’s only available on Saturday mornings and I have no idea what the name of the vendor is.  But absolutely delicious!

I also went by the Carousel Bakery and picked up an eggplant sandwich to have for a picnic lunch.  This big mother contains breaded eggplant, roasted zucchini, red pepper and cheese.  It’s made on fresh olive focaccia bread and it is to die for.  Other aspects that make this sandwich awesome:

  • It only costs $4.75
  • It is HUGE

The size of a football and the weight of a newborn 😉

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

I walked from the St. Lawrence market down to Harbourfront, found a shaded bench, and ate this even though I wasn’t really hungry.  It was beckoning to me from my backpack!  I ate just over half.

There is some sort of waterfront festival happening at Harbourfront so it, too, was packed with people.  With the backpack and camera, I definitely felt like a tourist!

My feet began to hurt so I walked back to Union station and took the subway and bus home.  I can’t believe it’s only 1:00 pm!  A full, eventful morning and it only cost me less than $10.  Now I will spend the afternoon relaxing, doing laundry, and figuring out what to have for dinner 🙂

July 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm 6 comments

One month of blogging

I have been writing in this blog for a whole month now!  I have to say that it has been awesome.

My original motivation was a combined desire to journal my food as well as exercise my creative writing muscles, and I think it’s working.  I have definitely been eating healthier and more consciously, and it’s been a lot of fun to write.  Some evenings, I honestly don’t have much motivation to go online and spew my thoughts onto the interwebby, but I am approaching this blog like a part-time job (one that pays horribly!  Haha).  I am committed to it, through and through.  The pay off?  I feel great once I have completed an entry.  A few people have said they like my writing style or they are inspired by my eating habits, and that feels pretty freaking awesome too.

So I woke up this morning not hungry at all.  Surprise surprise!  But I forced myself to eat a generous breakfast, because I am on a mission to eat more calories!  This is a lifetime first.

I had a Chocolate Cherry Bomb, but this time with spinach!  I was happy it didn’t “gross up” the pretty pink colour too much.

This is a truly awful photograph

It contains:

  • Small handful of frozen cherries
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 1/4 cups of 1% milk
  • 1 Tbsp of cocoa powder

I had it with half a bagel with cream cheese.

It was pretty delicious.

I have packed more snacks for today and am ready to combat hunger!  Bring it on.

My friend linked me to this great article about eating cheaply.  Music to my ears!  It’s an interesting article, but I have a soft spot in my heart for anyone who spends the time to calculate how much an individual serving of food costs 🙂  This is a reminder that I want to write more about frugality on here!  This also comes at a time when I have been fighting an ongoing desire to go on a shopping spree, so it is much needed.

Happy hump day!

June 30, 2010 at 8:49 am 2 comments

Protein Pancakes

Happy Caturday!

Not all of us have been lying around all day!

Per my Saturday morning routine, I hit up the grocery store first thing.  I’m glad it opens at 7 am so I can be there with the other senior citizens 😉

Beforehand, I had a small bowl of cherries to tide me over:

This is what I bought at the grocery store:

  • Red wine vinegar $1.78
  • Cottage Cheese $4.87
  • Egg whites $1.98
  • Lindt dark chocolate “fleur de sel” (my fave!) $3.26
  • Whole wheat flour $4.77
  • Milk $4.17
  • Salsa $2.50
  • Whole wheat penne $1.27
  • Maple syrup $7.97
  • 2 cans of black beans $0.87 each
  • Margarine $2.97
  • Dish soap $1.77
  • Diced tomatoes $0.86
  • 2 cans of kidney beans $0.87 each
  • Black olives $1.57
  • Rolled oats $2.96
  • Dried apricots $3.00
  • Self magazine (SPLURGE ALERT) $4.49
  • Baby spinach $3.97
  • Mushrooms $1.50
  • Green bell pepper $0.53
  • Red bell pepper $1.34
  • Broccoli $0.77 (total steal!)
  • Carrots $1.77
  • Feta cheese $4.57
  • Zucchini $0.54
  • Mango $0.97
  • Bananas $2.04
  • 3 lb onions $2.47
  • Cantaloupe $2.47
  • Baby carrots $2.47
  • Tofu $1.97
  • Veggie ground round $3.77
  • 2 English cucumbers $0.77 each
  • Olive oil $6.67

That seems like a lot to last two people for one week, but there you have it!

So this morning I decided to try something new for breakfast.  That is, Protein Pancakes!  I’ve seen these kicking around the food blogs but they always seemed to require protein powder, which I don’t own and don’t want to buy.  I did some Googling and came upon this recipe.  I got it from a body builder’s website which made me feel really hardcore and intense!

Protein Pancakes

Serves 2

  • 1 cup of egg whites
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of cottage cheese

Take these ingredients, blend them in a blender, and pour into a bowl.  Cook them like you would regular pancakes.

I was surprised that the batter came out looking pretty normal.

So I just fried them up in my skillet!  I made four for myself and left the rest of the batter for husband’s breakfast once he wakes up.  I served it topped with 3/4 cup sliced strawberries and some maple syrup.

On a salad plate to give the illusion of more pancake 🙂

There is still half the batter left, so check out these stats for one serving;

  • 350 calories
  • 31 grams of protein

These figures do not include the strawberries or maple syrup.

Not bad, eh?  And the taste was pretty good.  A bit less light and fluffy than your usual pancake, but I liked them a lot.  The cottage cheese gave them a bit of richness.

The real question is how long these will keep me full.  I am hoping for 3 to 4 hours.  Now it is time to make a Greek pasta salad to take to the in-laws.  Once that is done, I will spend the morning drinking coffee and reading this:

Who doesn’t love Caturdays?

June 26, 2010 at 9:33 am 13 comments

Chocolate Cherry Bomb Redux

My joyous day of good tidings was partially obstructed by a delay on the subway this afternoon.  I was so excited to make it home by 1:00 pm, but a good portion of the subway was closed down due to an accident at track level (yikes!).  I didn’t want to wait with the masses for a shuttle bus, so I took an alternative route which encompasses a long streetcar ride, a climb up a big hill, and a bus ride.  I made it up the hill alright, but the bus never came!  I ended up having to hoof it home.  My reward was a lot of self-pity and a blueberry parfait for a snack:

This contains:

  • 3/4 cup fresh  blueberries
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • Sprinkle of granola
  • Drizzle of honey

I was feeling tired and made the mistake of thinking more food would wake me up, so I had a slice of Blueberry Oat bread.

38 seconds after consuming this, I had a nap on the couch 🙂

Husband came home from work and we ventured to the farmer’s market.  It’s a wee tiny one, and there was only one booth selling any fresh vegetables!  I was kind of bummed, but we bought:

  • Strawberries – A pint for $4
  • Mixed sweet peppers – 4 for $4
  • Asparagus – $5
  • 5 tomatoes – $4

Husband also bought a dozen fresh, mini donuts.  I tried one but it left a funny aftertaste.  They said they were made with coconut oil, and I wondered if this could have an affect?

When I came home, I prepared this and popped it into the freezer:

I smell an addiction.

But, first, I made dinner!  I was hoping to be able to post the recipe here, but it didn’t turn out so great.

I made “pasta with broccoli and sweet peppers” that called for a light creamy sauce made with milk.  In the few times I’ve tried making creamy sauce using milk, it’s never worked out!  I think lots of cream and cheese is necessary for a truly delicious sauce.  Unfortunately.

I had such high hopes for you, Whole Wheat Rotini

At this point, I was still holding out hope

Objects in bowl appear tastier than they actually are

I’m being a bit tough.  It wasn’t awful, by any means.  I will eat the leftovers, but I just wouldn’t make it again.

Thankfully, dessert was the saving grace!

I talked about the Chocolate Cherry Bomb to husband for, oh, all afternoon.  I decided to make a less liquid-y version and serve it like ice cream.  For two servings, I used:

  • 1 cup + of pitted, frozen cherries
  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen
  • 3/4 cup of 1% milk
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa

I ended up adding a splash of soy milk (ran out of regular milk!) and a bit of water because my blender was having a tough time blending this up.  Maybe I should try the food processor next time?  But it turned out very well.  I sprinkled some chocolate chips on top for a “sundae affect”.

Tomorrow is grocery day!  That’s an exciting event in this household.  I will probably buy the store’s entire supply of cherries 🙂

June 25, 2010 at 8:31 pm Leave a comment

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What happens when you love to eat healthy (and some unhealthy!) food, love to live frugally, and love to write? You start a food blog, of course. Of course!

Eating well and living frugally does not always come easy, but Lord help me, I am trying! This blog will detail my endeavor to live the best life possible. This will include pictures of my cats, odes to almond butter, and the general miscellany that makes up my life. Enjoy!

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