Tag Archives: menu

Menu Plan Monday: Personal Pantry Challenge

As we get ready for out trip, it is my intention to use up what’s in our cupboards and fridge. There by saving money and using stuff up before it goes bad.

Saving money means more money towards spending on our trip. My last two weeks have been living pretty frugal. And I am okay with that.

This week’s meal planning, I thought it would be frugal to combine a few items from the grocery store to go with the food already in the cupboard. Let’s see how this goes (pen and paper on the kitchen table. Let’s see what I can scribble down).

(C) Cupboard
(F) Fridge/Freezer
(S) Store

(C)(F) = 9
(S) = 5 (panko tofu & vegan sour cream are from same package)

Not bad. With more practice I will get better. As you can see, most of what I need to shop for is produce. With that, I will only buy what is needed. And most of what already have stocked is produce that needs to be used up before it goes bad.

Vegan Lifestyle

I know this is a financial blog and I am rambling raw-vegan. But I am stoked! It’s been great! I have been listening to my body and what it desires to eat. I have been whipping up smoothies and eating salads like crazy! Those salads… I have been craving. Weird! But totally delish! And my body has been quenching up the thirst with water or tea. Last night I was offered a beer and I turned it down. Like my body doesn’t even desire or want it. Tried a soda the other day and it was the sweetest un-tastiest thing I’ve had. Out to dinner and it was a baked potato and salad for me. Or I’ve had soup and salad for lunch during work. Snacks: I mix my own trail mix with cranberries, nuts, and pretzels or eat an apple. I crave yummy goodness now. I love it!

I’ve also been listening to my body when it tells me its full. And my portions are rather small now. But I also eat 6 mini meals/snacks throughout the day to keep me nourished. I haven’t lost anymore weight, but I have maintained it well. I feel great.

Financially with a Vegan diet: it is not expensive for me. I am still trying to figure out why people think it is expensive to eat healthy. I think it might be that people are not aware of how to substitute products when cooking. There are always frugal alternatives to expensive ingredients when called for in a recipe.

When I shop, this is usually what I pay:

  • A block of tofu is $1.30 – $2.00.
  • Can of beans is $0.89 – $2.00 (usually get 2 servings, at least). or buy a bag of beans to cook and freeze in individual servings. Then you’ll get a lot for your money!
  • My salad bags are $2.00 and feed for a week.
  • Soup – buy what is on sale or even better make you own! When produce is near its end and needs to be used, I whip up soups for lunch.
  • Produce/Fruit – buy what is on sale

And all those meals will make great lunch leftovers (save more $$ :)) and the extra fruit will be used up in my morning smoothies. Loving it!

To find more great menu plans, visit Orgjunkie.com

Menu Plan Monday: Weight Loss Happy

How is this Vegan thing going? Great! I’ve been having oatmeal or cereal with almond milk for breakfast. Healthy snacks of carrots & hummus, grapes, popcorn or soy yogurt. Lunches and dinners consists of baked potatoes with lemon pepper & broccoli, salads & soup, Indian food & brown rice, black bean tacos… It’s all good. πŸ˜€

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been on automatic pilot, at work, with putting milk in my oatmeal and then saying, “Doh!” But, I am not going to beat myself up over it. Eating Vegan is change that takes time. However, I have replaced the milk at home with Almond Milk and the family loves it! Works great in all my cooking, too. Small changes to make a healthy difference.

Want to know what else?

Well, if you don’t I am going to tell you anyways. I’ve lost 4.5 pounds this week! And yes, my meals filled me, I didn’t go hungry, and I feel great! So, I am not giving up this Vegan Kickstart anytime soon.

Financially, my vegan meals don’t costs us anymore than normal. I buy more produce and canned beans. Doesn’t cost me so much, so far.

This week’s meal plan

I know many of the recipes call for eggs, cheese or milk. But I use Earth balance for butter, omit the eggs (with no problems), use Almond Milk… there are ways around it.

To find more great menu plans, visit Orgjunkie.com

Menu Plan Monday: Week of Slow Cooking

Why is it men don’t eat for a day they lose 5 pounds? Women don’t eat for a week and only lose 1 pound. LOL. Yup, that is my first week total.

1 week = 1 pound πŸ™

I think you’re right, peeps, going to need to implement the exercise factor. I am going to add in 2 days of walking 1.5 miles and 1 day of serious stair climing – 12 flights of stairs! Well, the first two tries on those stairs, I may not make that climb. But after the 3rd time it should be no prob. I am expecting some serious gluteal maximus pain, but it will result in extra nice form in a pair of jeans. πŸ˜‰

This week: Now that my husband has been working overtime and I get home late, it has proved extra hard to get a homecooked dinner on the table (want to eat at 7-8pm?). I have decided to implement a week of slowcooking. Put the ingredients in the crockpot during morning and wha la!, a delicious dinner at night.

Here is this week’s meal plan with delicious recipes from A Year of Slowcooking (they really are delicious):

Well, I am off to start week 2 of my portion controlled, exercise happy, kick off the weight week! πŸ˜‰

To find more great menu plans, visit Orgjunkie.com

Menu Plan Monday – I am going on a diet!

Much like holding one’s self accountable for the budget, the weight also follows the same. Since October, status quo in my life has slowly been changing. Mixed with the holidays… well, I compensated it all with eating.

The problem is (and I don’t know if all women have this), I surpassed or hold borderline to the weight I told myself would never happen. Normally, I can fall back into routine and go back to the intended weight. Not this time and I am having difficulties getting myself to return.

I am going on a Diet

So, I feel it was time to share this information with you. Because I need to start holding myself accountable for my weight in order to lose it and maintain. I need to feel healthy again for me, my family, my husband, and my health.

I need to lose approximately 13 pounds. My plans are put myself on a 1200-1400 caloric diet (This number was figured using Lean Cuisine’s Keeping on Track Tools). The calories are not as low as you think, because I seldom have time for exercise.

How I figured my Diet Menu Plan

Here are my personal guidelines on how I intend to lose weight with my meal plan. *Keep it Simple*

  1. Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks per day – I enjoy eating small portions throughout the day as it aids in digestion better.
  2. Limit carbs – watch the bread and pasta intake.
  3. Fiber & Fruit – increase the legumes, whole wheat, and fruit intake to aid in digestion and health
  4. Break up calories per meal – I can have approximately 300-350 calories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner mixed with 100 – 125 calorie snacks. Or if I eat a bigger lunch meal then dinner will be lower.
  5. Use common sense – If your options are a crossaint or a bowl of granola with milk – its easy to figure out the granola is better for me.

At the start, I like to write down what I have eaten through the day. Then as time moves on with a routine of sorts, I can safely eat with confidence.

My Meal Plan

Breakfast(s): Oatmeal, piece of wheat toast, and a banana; Meusli with almond milk (lots of good stuff in this!); fresh fruit, yogurt, and a piece of wheat toast; green smoothie.

Lunches: I bought Lean Cuisine 300-350 lunch meals. They were on sale for $1.99 + a free coupon for a 6 pack of Skinny Cow Ice cream sandwiches.

Snacks: Hummus and veggies, trail mix, fruit and crackers.


  • Sunday: Happy Valentine’s Day! Diet starting tomorrow. We are heading to Bucca di Beppos and off to see Valentine’s Day at the movie theater.
  • Monday: Tuna salad with mixed greens and a bowl of tomato soup with sourdough croutons.
  • Tuesday: Small portion of Mac and Cheese with (you guessed it) a mixed greens salad.
  • Wednesday: 3 bean vegetarian chili, cornbread, and mixed greens salad.
  • Thursday: Salmon, brown rice, and steamed broccoli.
  • Friday: Eat out sensibly.

Ladies, have a wonderful Valentine’s day! For more Menu Plan Monday, check out Orgjunkie.com. Oh ya, I will keep you updated on my progress. πŸ˜‰


Menu Plan Monday – Frugal Vegetarian Meal Plan

Health and Fitness are on the tops of people’s minds at the start of the New year. With that is opting to start a Vegetarian Lifestyle – as it is known to lower cholesterol, lower high blood pressure, lower triglycerides, lower our cancer risk, etc… [read 57 more reasons here]. All that equates to feeling great!

Starting a vegetarian lifestyle can be done with a frugal budget with these simple tips:
    Buy and plan menu items around your grocer’s produce sales ad
    Make larger quantities of your staple items (rice, beans, baked goods) and freeze in single servings portions
    Plan for your meals each week
    Shop at Trader Joe’s for great prices on nuts, trail mix, dried fruits and any specialty vegetarian convenience items
    Learn to cook Indian Food [www.Sulekha.com] – it is a very tasty and frugal way to eat great food
    Grow an herb garden – learning to cook with herbs is a great way to enhance flavors! Oregano, basil, cilantro, rosemary are a few of my favorite herbs. I like to dry and chop them to refill my spice jars.
    – Substitute a menu’s item for what you have on hand. If a recipe calls for tofu in the stir fry, but have a zucchini that needs to be used up – then go for it! Cubed zucchini works great for dishes requesting marinaded tofu.

These are only a few ways to living a vegetarian lifestyle on a frugal budget. Do you have a great tip to add to this list?

This week’s menu is a frugal vegetarian meal plan:
  • Monday: Zucchini Fritters, Apple Slices, and Mixed Green Salad
  • Tuesday: Broiled Polenta with Mushroom Ragout (Buy cremeni mushrooms, if on sale. If not, regular button mushrooms will work great. And to frugally substitute for the goat cheese: Kraft’s parmesan-romano grated cheese sprinkled on top works great!)
  • Wednesday: Tofu & Bok Choy stir fry served over white rice
  • Thursday: Tomato & Garlic Pasta, garlic bread,and a mixed green salad
  • Friday: Veggie Pizza (ordered) with tomatoes, garlic, onion, and black olives.
  • Saturday: Baked potato topped with chili & sourcream, sliced tomatoes with olive oil and cracked black pepper, and mixed greens salad.

Made myself hungry with this post. Remember, even if a vegetarian meal calls for expensive ingredients there is always a frugal alternative. Have fun when making your meals. Be sure your plate has lots of colors (green spinach, red bell pepper, purple eggplant) and you’ll be sure that you are getting your much needed nutrients.

To find more great menu plans, visit Orgjunkie.com

To help you create your vegetarian meal plans, check out the International Vegetarian Union for many great recipes!

Menu Plan Monday

Oh boy, this weekend was fun! LOL. Understatement. We got an itch to repaint and redo some of the decor in the living room due to guest coming over for a Super Bowl Party. We dealt with moving furniture, matching paint, cleaning, removing chair rails, spackling, cleaning blinds, etc… needless to say, we are really worn out! Hey, I am a master painter now. LOL. Not something I am proud of. Do I really need to go to work tomorrow. *sigh*

The good thing, the living room looks great with the minor redo. And I cleaned out a bunch of drawers and magazines. Feeling lighter with out the extra weight of stuff.

So, my apologies for getting this post out late. But let’s talk food. The Super Bowl – frugal friendly – it’s a potluck. We are hosting Coors Light, Stella Artois, and a Nacho Bar. Went to Costco to buy 2 big backs of tortilla chips, 1 bottle of salsa, 1 lg. can of Queso (keep warm in crockpot) and then I am going to buy all the veggies (tomatoes, olives, cheese, avocado), jalapenos, and sour cream/guacamole later this week. Can’t decide who I want to win – Colts or Saints. Well, let me give it to the Saints since it’s their first time going. πŸ™‚

Sizzling Salmon & Spinach Salad with Soy Vinaigrette – I am craving a good salmon salad again. This one has 5 stars, so I gotta try it. Perhaps I wil accompany it with some cheese toast and a glass of white zinfandel My Recipes

Chicken Chimichangas – Tuesdays are usually mexican night and this is no exception. I have some left over shredded chicken from Sunday night’s chicken tamale casserole (which was worth making, but I added fresh tomatoes, olives and sliced avocados to the recipe – delish) that needs to be used up. I can’t think of a better way. My Recipes

Sandwiches & Cream of Celery Soup – Guess what? I have chicken stock made from Sunday’s night dinner too! Because after boiling my chicken to shred…well, you can’t just throw out the stock. Save it for better use. And this is a perfect way. The Wednesday Chef

Steak, potatoes, and veggies – This is usually a weekly menu item. My husband loves his steak and baked potato. His steak rub = his secret recipe. πŸ™‚

We are going out to eat – Our house is getting ready for a Super Bowl party. We’re gonna be tuckered out getting our house ready for a soiree of friends. So, this Friday night we are hitting the city for a bite to eat!

Fend for Yourself Saturday – leftovers, fix your own, lazy day Saturday… the kids love it because they can fix usually whatever their stomachs desire.

Super Bowl Nacho Bar – warm up the queso in the crockpot, put the beer on ice, gather good friends and watch a great game!

To find more great Menu Plan Monday’s, check out Orgjunkie.com

Menu Plan Monday

Did you know there are over 600 varieties of heirloom tomatoes? Geesh.

Two years ago, I took a trip to San Diego for work (happy to oblige on company’s expense). During the last evening of my trip, I took a trip with a group of coworkers to a restaurant whose name escapes me. But what I do remember is the vegetarian pasta dish I ordered adorned with yellow pear tomatoes. Let me tell you, they were delicious! Slightly softened from cooking but burst with flavor in your mouth.

So, it is to no avail that I can’t wait to try the Steak, Potato and Portabello Kebabs from GoodLife’s Eats on this weeks menu. Maybe I should try to recreate the Warm Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream for dessert. πŸ˜‰

This Week’s Menu:

Mexican Tacos – No recipe here. Simmer a can of black beans in taco seasoning. Prepared fried taco shells in oil. Fill with black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, onions, cheese, and a dollup of sour cream.

Soups & Sandwiches – Would of made soup but didn’t have the time. Couldn’t decide the kind so I bought Tomato & Basil and Split Pea. Will be accompanied by Sourdough Sandwiches filled with sprouts, tomatoes, cheese, and meat.

Chili Cheese Dogs, Spiral Mac & Cheese, and Fries – Its a kid’s night. All prepackaged (and yes, totally unhealthy).

Tuna Noodle Casserole & green salad – Normally I make the same old Good HouseKeeping Tuna Noodle Casserole with the cream of mushroom, egg noddles, etc… But I am tres excited to find this recipe. Same ole’ ho-hum recipe but add cream of celery, French’s Fried Onions, and a Corn Flake topping. Can’t wait to try this one! Recipe Tips

Steak, Potato, and Portabello Kebabs – Paired with Yellow Pear Tomatoes. Mm-mm. This recipes looks so good! The balsamic vinegar, garlic, and rosemary… these gals know how to fuse flavors together nicely. πŸ˜‰ Goodlife Eats

Chicken Tamale Casserole & green salad – Danger: will find delicous recipes in Cooking Light Magazine (this is the only magazine where I actually make their recipes instead of just drooling). Took the chicken out of the freezer to cook and shred. I am actually quite excited to try this one. Tip: 1/4C of egg substitute is equal to one egg.Cooking Light via MyRecipes.com

There some great stuff on this week’s menu! Now I am off to make a batch of curry for this week’s lunches.

Menu plan Monday is hosted by Orgjunkie.com. Head on over there to find more great recipes!

Menu Plan Monday

Southern California is going to get 8 inches of rain! To this gal who has been experiencing high 70’s sunshine weather this is a lot of water to be dumped in one week.To offset being drowned this week, I am planning on cooking up some comfort food (hopefully the comfort won’t be put on the hips – lol).

You know, the thought of rain makes me want to bake. Maybe I will whip up some Zucchini-Pineapple Muffins (store nicely in the freezer). They will go great with my morning coffee.

Well, enjoy this week’s Menu Plan Monday. BTW, MPM is hosted by I’m an Organizing Junkie. Head on over there to find many other blogger’s MPMs.

Baked Spaghetti Recipe – This recipe is found on Taste of Home. Heard it is one to try and I love it for being a casserole! Easy Peasy! Taste of Home

Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread – We’re suppose to get 8 inches of rain all in one week! For a So. Cal girl this is a BIG Deal! To help sooth the jitters from driving home in the rain, I’m gonna cook me up some comfort lovin’! Honest Fare

Easy Lemon Pasta with Chicken – I have to admit I love the Neelys recipes on Food Network. I think it is the Southern + Food = Home Comfort. The Food Network

Cauliflower,Potato & Pea Curry with White Rice – I’m all about the comfort food this week and with an Indian Flare… all the better! Plus, I’ve been craving going completely vegetarian again. International Vegetarian Union

Grilled Salmon Caesar Salad with Toasted Garlic Bread – Something Simple, Something Yummy, and Something Healthy! Mm-mm! Need I say more? Dr. Gourmet