$15 Food Challenge: Week 2

Hello again!

So week 1 of this food challenge went well! Except for on Monday when I lectured for 6 hours straight and then bought and ate 2 donuts. But you’ll have that. Haha.  This week i’ll be testing my hand at cooking lentils, which I have never done before. I’m excited though because they’re super cheap (and packed with iron, fiber, and protein!).


This week I switched up my grocery store of choice, and went to Aldis. These are the goods:

  • 11 (yes 11!) McIntosh Apples: 1.99
  • Carrots: .99
  • Huge tub of oats: 2.29
  • Tortillas: .99
  • Salsa: 1.69
  • Mozzarella: 1.49
  • Gallon of vitamin D milk: 2.49
  • 4 Bananas: .95
  • 10 pounds of russet potatoes: 2.49
  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans: 1.65
  • 1 can tomatoes: .80
  • Green lentils: 1.25

So, yes, if you’re adding this up, I am a little over $15.00. But i’m okay with that because I bought bulk oats and potatoes, which kind of made me feel like I was shopping for the Oregon Trail…anyways. That is so much food for under $20.00! I also still have some left over ingredients from last week (kale, chicken, lettuce), and some ingredients that i’ve had for quite a while (half-used pasta sauce,  frozen ground beef and  beans).  Here’s the dinner menu:

Saturday: Kale, carrot, lentil, garbanzo bean stew

Sunday:  Sweet Potato Chili ( with ground beef, assortment of beans, tomatoes)

Monday: Pasta (using the ground beef from yesterday)

Tuesday: Calzone (using yesterday’s sauce)

Wednesday: Veggie Fritatta

Thursday: Sunday’s leftovers

Friday:  Rice and Black Bean Burritos

For breakfast i’m going to break out my travel thermos and make oatmeal, adding a little cinnamon, apple, and brown sugar to my oats.  It’ll be nice to take a hot breakfast to campus!

For snacks I’m going to try roasted garbanzo beans and my current food crush, chia seed pudding!

Check out my sister’s $20.00 a week for 2 food challenge here

Happy, healthy eating, friends!



Homemade Coffee Syrup x2



I love me some coffee, and since i’ve been trying to live more frugally, I’ve found a pretty easy way to cut a corner: homemade coffee syrup. I am a pansy and really like sweetness creamer in my coffee, so I had been buying french vanilla creamer on an almost weekly basis. Recently, i’ve been making vanilla syrup and just adding a drip of milk in my coffee.

Homemade vanilla syrup is way too easy:

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water

1 tsp of vanilla extract

Stir it on the stove on medium until it’s all dissolved. Delish and easy. Earlier this Fall I also made pumpkin coffee syrup, which was very easy too!

2 cups of water

1 cup of sugar

3 Tbsp of pumpkin puree

I also added a few pinches of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Stir on the stove until it’s all mixed in.Yummy!

Both need to be stored in the refrigerator, but can last a few weeks.





$15 Food Challenge

Big sister Sarah and I earned the worst sisters of the Semester award by not having chatted with each other since I moved until last weekend. Whoops! Marriage, work, and graduate school apparently keep us busy! We finally had a wonderful 2 hour chat which left my heart very full and my mind buzzing with ideas. One of those ideas was a food challenge. Sarah (and Jeth) and I are both living on a graduate student sized budget, but we also enjoy eating well.  Sarah is the master menu planner, and has been feeding herself and husband for $40 per week, but is challenging herself to cut down to $20 a week (mad impressive if you ask me!). She challenged me to eat of off $15 per week. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.



Here are the goods. I bought the peppers, kale, and lettuce at the farmers market this a.m. ($4.00 all together). Zucchini, bananas, milk, cous cous from the grocery store (5.00 total).  A few other grocery store purchases (yogurt and apples) not pictured, as well as the chicken that’s in my freezer.

I can’t guarantee that i’m at $15.00 on the dot, since i’m using a few ingredients that are all already at my apartment.  But i’m definitely in that range! Breakfast will be yogurt, bananas, and muffins (from my grandma) and lunch will be left overs from dinner, because that’s what happens when you’re a graduate student who cooks for herself. Haha.



Sauteeing the veggies for cous cous


                                                                              So. Much. Kale. What do you do with your kale?



Saturday: Cheesy potato soup

Sunday: Chicken and veggie (zucchini, kale, red pepper) cous cous

Monday: Chicken caesar salad

Tuesday: Zucchini fries and chicken

Wednesday: Veggie (sauteed peppers), lettuce, goat cheese wrap

Thursday: Cheesy potato soup

Friday: Veggie quesadilla and salad


Also, check out Sarah’s blog to track her menu challenge: (http://littlehousebliss.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/the-20-a-week-challenge/)


Shouuuuld be fun! Do you have any inexpensive and nutritious go-to recipes?



Driftwood DIY

I know I say this about every craft that I post, but seriously, easiest project ever. I found this wee piece of driftwood earlier this summer while out in nature. And I  brought it back and kept it with me for the past few months (that’s normal, right?). I love finding pieces of nature that I can incorporate into projects. I finally decided that hanging my (few) necklaces off of my bookshelf wasn’t cutting it. I don’t have much jewelry, so this is perfect for the few items that I wear consistently. Pins, string, nail, driftwood. Done. IMG_20131108_172215 IMG_20131108_172423
IMG_20131108_172119 IMG_20131108_172507

Have a lovely Saturday, friends,