Whats up, friends! Friday again. Already. How?? Today’s recap will be brief because I didn’t do a whole lot of cooking this week. Why? I cut my hand open really badly on Tuesday morning, leaving me one handed and unable to do just about anything (ever try showering with one hand? Not fun.). So, I’ll go over what I had planned for the week and then what I actually ended up eating. Life is unpredictable, ammiright??
My menu started with the pesto pasta that I planned to make last week, but never got around to. I was also craving some Indian fare, so I added Chana Aloo Masala (chickpeas and potatoes) to the list, which would allow me to use up the leftover potato from a couple weeks ago and the remaining tablespoon or so of garam masala that I had bought from the bulk spice section of Whole Foods a couple months ago. I really enjoyed my hummus and vegetables last week, so I wanted to make a second batch, but flavor it with some of the pesto that was leftover from the pasta. Lastly, I couldn’t stop thinking about that pan fried tofu from last week, so I wanted to make more. Already. That soon. Because it was that good. This time I wanted to make yummy bowls with rice, avocado, pineapple, and sweet chili sauce.
Unfortunately, the only two recipes I got to before my hand was nearly cut off (exaggeration) were the Chana Aloo Masala and Pesto Hummus. :( I still have all the ingredients for the tofu, though, so that might happen this weekend. I’m still daydreaming about it. ;)
Here’s what the grocery list looked like for that menu plan:
Staples that needed replenishing this week included: milk, eggs, tortillas, and some fruit to snack on. Chickpeas, crushed tomatoes, ginger, and plain yogurt were all for the Chana Aloo Masala (as well as extra chickpeas for the hummus). Angel hair pasta was for the pesto pasta that has yet to happen (lol). Tofu, sweet chili sauce, and avocados were for the sweet chili tofu bowls.
When I got to the bottom of my list I realized just how short it was and how under budget I’d probably be, so I added a splurge item: English muffins! I’ve made English muffins at home before, but IMHO nothing compares to Bays brand English muffins. They’re just so different from any other brand or homemade and I’m absolutely addicted to them. Having them for weekend breakfast is such a treat, so I said, “Girl, treat yo’ self!” and I did.
The two stores that I went to that day did not have good selections of sweet chili sauce, so I decided to go to the larger Whole Foods on the other side of town later that week and check out what they had. Sure enough, they had 5-6 different brands and I was able to get an inexpensive small jar that would leave me with no leftovers to clog up my refrigerator shelves. :P
I put a question mark next to the ginger because I have a few small knobs left in my freezer, but it’s about time to replenish. Sometimes the ginger selection is sub-par, though, so I decided I’d buy if it was good and wait till next time if it was bad.
What Did I Buy?
As usual, I stopped off at Whole Foods first to see what they had. I got my eggs, milk, and tofu there as usual. They had a fairly good deal on avocados, so I grabbed one there. To my delight, they also had a fantastic deal on chicken thighs ($1.99/lb.). Luckily, I had a lot of room in my budget, so I picked up TWO packs. I didn’t have plans for them this week, so they went straight into the freezer. I’ll try to use them soon, though.
I don’t know if it’s because of the current popularity of garbanzo beans, but they are about twice as expensive as other dried beans around here. So, instead of cooking them from dry this week, I just bought cans. I paid a little extra, but my need for a short cut won out this time around.
And oof. Those English muffins are expensive, but I definitely enjoyed them! I’m glad I had room to splurge this week. I love my weekend breakfast and that definitely made it special.
I still can’t believe how few ingredients I needed to make three recipes, plus a snack. It’s too bad I didn’t get to cook all of them!
I went to the larger Whole Foods later in the week to pick up the sweet chili sauce ($2.49) and a second avocado ($1.50-the first one was getting soft, so I ate it). So my grand total for the week was:
Weekly Total: $37.69
What I Ate
So, if I only made two out of four recipes, what did I eat?? Well, a lot of tortilla/egg/hummus sammiches, that’s what. Seriously, I couldn’t move my left hand without the cut opening up, so I had to stick to the most simple things I could find. That Pesto Hummus is pretty killer with eggs, though, so I wasn’t mad! :D
Luckily before “the incident” I had made this awesomely filling Chana Aloo Masala. It made four huge servings, which I got all to myself because boyfriend was working really long hours all week. Paired with brown rice this is a majorly filling meal. I’m glad I decided to get that yogurt to put on top, too, because it added just the right amount of creaminess to make it feel slightly indulgent.
Thank goodness for this Pesto Hummus. I made it with the intention of eating it just as a snack with my carrots and celery sticks (both leftover from the previous week), but ended up eating it almost like a main meal for the rest of the week (in tortillas with a fried egg). Hummus is far more than a dip. It’s great on sandwiches and even on pizza. Yes, pizza.
While I didn’t go “out” to eat at all this week, I did pick up this pre-made chicken pasta at Whole Foods. Usually their pre-made foods are quite expensive and I’d just never splurge that hard, but this one was not such a bad deal (and I rationalized it with my cut hand). You can’t tell from the photo, but the container was quite large and ended up giving us four decent sized servings for $10.99, or $2.75 each. A lot of my homemade chicken dishes are around $2 per serving, so this wasn’t that far off. Why was it so cheap? Because they used Budget Byting Principle #2: Use Ingredients Wisely. This dish includes three ingredients that are generally on the expensive side: chicken, pesto, and Parmesan; but it also includes one REALLY inexpensive ingredient: pasta. By being mindful of the ratio of expensive to inexpensive ingredients you can keep the total cost of the recipe low. In other words: use the expensive ingredients sparingly, and bulk up the dish with inexpensive ingredients. It’s that simple.
I also finished off the last two of my Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas that I had stashed in the freezer. I made these quesadillas a couple weeks ago when I was shooting video for The Food Network’s Snapchat discover channel. I’ll have more videos featured on their Snapchat channel in the coming weeks, but they’re only up for one day, so follow me on social media to find out when they’re live (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
Because I couldn’t do much in the kitchen with my bum hand, I plopped down in front of my computer and re-edited the quesadilla footage to a longer, more complete video for my Youtube channel. Check it out! :D
And that’s what I ate! Oh, that and the pineapple and bananas pictured in the grocery shots.
So, I have some bad news. After six months of weekly recaps, I’ve had to make the executive decision to press pause on the recaps for a while. I know they’re quite helpful to many of you, so I promise to resume them temporarily at least once per year. And I’ve made a Weekly Recap category, so you can easily go back through them if needed. Why did I decide to stop for a while?
- Work Load – In February I made record-breaking 18 blog posts, which is a drastic increase from my average of 10-12 per month. The weekly recaps make me feel more pressured to turn everything I make into a unique blog post, so that the recaps actually make sense. This increase in work load has left me pretty close to burn-out, and that’s never good.
- Quality vs. Quantity – Because of the increased quantity of posts, I feel like quality has suffered (photos, writing, and recipe development). I only want to show you my best work rather than feeling compelled to pump out the posts before the end of the week when it’s time to do the recap.
- Privacy – I’m a super private person and it’s nearly impossible to talk about what I bought, cooked, and ate during the week without talking about the personal factors that influence those decisions. After six months, I’m still not comfortable sharing so much of my personal life with the entire world.
- Side Projects – I do quite a bit of freelance work and have a few projects for the blog that have been on my to-do list for a while. All of those projects require me to buy and cook food, sometimes above and beyond what’d I’d normally eat. :P I was able to work a few of the projects into my weekly plan over the past six months, but it has definitely restricted my ability to experiment with new ideas and do side projects.
And a few other minor reasons that I won’t go into. So my friends, I apologize if you’re a weekly recap fan, but I promise to do at least a month of them a year (probably in September to keep the tradition). It’s a great exercise and teaches me a LOT every time I do it, so I will return to it. AND I promise to use that extra time and freedom to bring you new and better features on Budget Bytes. :)
Till next time, guys!