Category Archives: Meal Plans

Salade Niçoise with Quail Eggs

 

This cold salad lends itself perfectly to meal prepping, or a quick weeknight dinner. Pulled together in under 20 minutes, you can have this light, fresh, tasty salad anytime.

With the hearty ingredients and a little babying of the fresh greens, these salads can also hold for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Naturally Whole30 compliant, paleo, low-carb, Mediterranean.

Prep once, enjoy twice.

And, the best part, you only need 1 pot! Boil all the ingredients, staggering the start time, to be ready all at once.

This recipe makes 2 giant salads. Feel free to double to be covered for lunches all week long!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 small redskin potatoes
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 packs or tins of tuna
  • 6 quail eggs, or 2 regular eggs
  • 1 cup fresh green beans
  • Optional: 1/2 cup olives
  • 4 cups salad greens (lettuce, romaine, spinach, mixed)
  • Dressings of choice

meal prep: nicoise salad

Step 1: Dice your potatoes into 1/2 – 1 inch chunks. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Step 2: Cut the ends off your green beans (you can also use canned, drained green beans).

meal prep: nicoise salad

Step 3: Boil potatoes for ~5 minutes. Then add the fresh green beans and boil another 3 minutes.

Step 4: Add the quail eggs, and boil a final 3 minutes. IF using chicken eggs, add at the same time as the green beans. Drain all.

meal prep: nicoise salad

Step 5: Fill 2 large salad containers with 2 cups of whatever greens you like. Cut the tomato into eights, put half into each salad container. Add half the potato and green beans and olives and eggs.

meal prep: nicoise salad

Step 6: Keep the tuna and the dressing separate until the day you serve the salads.

To keep the greens from getting slimy, add a paper towel or cotton towel to the bottom of the container to absorb excess moisture.

meal prep: nicoise salad

Enjoy within 4-5 days!

 

Vegetarian: Omit the tuna; add chickpeas or white beans if desired
Vegan: Omit tuna and eggs. Add chickpeas, and/or tofu
No red potatoes: Use whatever kind you have; or use roasted or boiled pumpkin, squash, or sweet potato
No olives: For salty flavor add capers, anchovies, or feta. For fat add avocado, olive oil heavy dressing, or cheese

 

Price Breakdown: $4.73 – $2.95

For the cost per salad, there is of course a range based on the ingredients you choose. For the “Highest Quality” I checked out the prices of individual ingredients from the Produce Box, which is all local NC produce, and similar to what you would find at a farmer’s market. For the “Lowest Price” I checked current ads for Harris Teeter and ALDI to see what the lowest price on items is. You choose the range that makes sense for you.

Highest Quality Lowest Price
1 lb green beans: need 1/5 $0.50 $0.20
1 lb red potatoes: need 1/2 $0.98 $0.67
tomato 3: need 1 $0.75 $0.50
lettuce: about 2/3 $3.00 $1.99
tuna pouches: need 2 $3.00 $2.00
olives: 1/6 the jar $0.39 $0.39
eggs: (free) 2 from store $0.83 $0.15
Cost for 2 salads $9.45 $5.89

This is a powerful example of how cooking for yourself at home saves you money over time. A similar salad out at a cafe or restaurant would cost you $12 – $20. By making it at home, even with the highest quality ingredients, you save $7 each time.

 

Weekly Eating – 3/25/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Over the weekend we made a lot of progress on the coop. The chicks are getting so big I don’t know if I can even call them chicks for much longer. They are also very bouncy and like to run around the box and jump and fly up into the screen covering it, so they need to get out, and soon!

quail around the water bowl

I also went to the Tanger outlets for the first time with a friend, and we had a ball trying on clothes for a few hours on a gorgeous sunny day. I even caved and got 3 new things from Old Navy. I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought a new piece of clothing. But all three things were pieces I felt great in and that I love and know I will wear over and over until they wear out.

Tanger Outlet NC

And we went to a local Hispanic market that I’ve been meaning to get to for forever. We picked up several different flavors/spice levels of salsa along with some hot sauces, jalapenos to replenish our stock of pickled jalapenos, chorizo, some chicken, and some avocados.

haul from the hispanic store

Monday:

Breakfast – Mango strawberry smoothie

strawberry mango smoothie

Lunch – Buddha bowl with roasted cauliflower, quinoa, black beans, cherry tomatoes, and avocado. And someone brought a peach pie to work to share so you better believe I had some of that!

buddha bowl and pie

Dinner – White bean and rice soup with green beans and spinach, with homemade veggie stock and homemade bread

white bean and rice soup

Tuesday:

Breakfast – Homemade bread with 3 quail eggs, 1 slice organic white cheddar cheese and 1 slice smoked turkey

open face breakfast sandwich

Snack – guac & chips

Lunch – leftover roast brisket with roasted root veggies

leftover lunch and guac

Dinner –leftover colcannon and corned beef; also I am so loving that we can eat dinner out on the porch now! It is still light & warm out.

leftovers on the porch

Wednesday:

Breakfast – accidentally skipped it bc I overslept…

Lunch – leftover soup and bread

leftover soup for lunch

Snack – apple and celery with peanut butter and raisins, and some gummy bears

snacks

Dinner – breaded roasted chicken quarters, and some radish top pesto and roasted cauliflower

chicken and pesto

Thursday:

Breakfast – gorgeous purple berry smoothie

gorgeous purple berry smoothie

Lunch – leftover chicken drumstick, cauli, and whole wheat penne pesto with cherry tomatoes

chicken and pesto

Dinner – chana saag over brown rice – chickpea, tomato, and spinach stew with masala spices

chana saag and rice

Friday:

Breakfast – everything bagel with turkey, quail eggs, and organic white cheddar cheese

everything bagel breakfast sammie

Lunch – last leftover beef and root veggies

leftovers and hummus

Snack – everything hummus, with sliced cucumber, radish & carrots. And cookies later, because the sugar demon is strong.

choc chip cookie

Dinner – Crazy combo of chorizo, sweet potato, onion, and apples. That’s it. Was quite weird, different, but really good.

sweet and spicy hash

The Weekend

GUYS IT’S SPRING. It finally feels like it at last. The sun in shining and we are in the upper 60s and 70s and I am freaking thrilled. The flowers are all blooming, the trees are blossoming, and my yard is regularly visited by robins and cardinals and blue jays. I love it.

spring daffodils

Also, WE FINISHED THE COOP!

new quail coop!

Yeah, pretty flippin excited about it. Took a ton of work and ingenuity but by golly, we got it done. Hubs was KEY, I could never have finished this all by my lonesome. I needed his advice, level head, and boy mode strength to get through it. Not the prettiest coop that ever existed, but it is functional.

new quail coop!

And the babies are no longer babies, we kicked them out of the house! They were starting to get too big and feisty for their box, it was just a matter of time until they figured out how to pop up and rip the screen lid off. Plus, they started to stink.

new quail coop!

They seem a little bewildered, but very happy in their new home. And boy, are they spoiled! This coop is HUGE, it’s like a quail mansion. Hopefully, the first egg is just around the corner…

Food Total: $67.22 + 33.05 = $99.27

Weekly Produce Box = a build your own, so I got to choose all my favorites. I got Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, red potatoes and yellow potatoes, beets, tomatoes, lettuce, and a stock up box of 8 pounds of NC sweet potatoes.

the produce box sweet potato stock up

 

Lessons Learned

It’s good to have standby recipes that you know you can cook well, and quickly, and easily. But it is good to experiment too. That’s how I find crazy new combos, that the boy approves of. I got kudos for the creative chorizo meal, not as a thing we could eat daily, but once it a while it is nice to have something totally out of the norm.

And I’m sure y’all are super tired of me crowing about quail, but seriously. They bring me so much joy. If you’ve ever considered raising your own animals for food, for eggs, milk, or meat, just do it! You won’t be sorry.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating -3/4/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Happy Spring Forward! Yes indeed it is time to change the clocks yet again, if you haven’t yet. I won’t get on my soap box about the pointlessness of Daylight Savings in today’s day and age… I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.

Well, we didn’t get to build the coop yet, but the greenhouse did get put together last weekend. So I’m pretty excited about it. Now I just need to actually start some seeds and get them inside.

build your own greenhouse

And I led a really fun Durham Food Tour, everyone was talkative and just there for a good time. The food was great as always, and now our last stop started giving us wine! We were all ok with that.

Durham food tour

Then I candied a bunch of orange peels and pickled several dozen quail eggs for next week’s coming food swap, and moved the eggs from the turner to the hatcher level of the incubator! CHICK TIME.

candied orange peels turmeric pickles quail eggs

Monday:

Breakfast – hashbrown and eggs cooked together into a patty with lunch meat and avocado between; actually pretty darn delicious

hashbrown sandwich

Lunch – leftover food from the Food Tour, an apple, and tea

leftover Neomonde

Dinner – mishmash of leftovers

Tuesday:

Breakfast – breakfast scramble with potato, peppers, zucchini, and onion, then poured scrambled eggs on top and mixed it all up.

breakfast scramble

Snack – a baklava leftover from the food tour

Lunch – leftover colcannon, I made a huge batch over the weekend

leftover colcannon

Snack – apple with almond butter and raisins

Dinner – sweet potato and squash noodles with meat sauce and ribs

sweet potato noodles pasta

ANNNNNDDDD I came home to 3 little chickies already hatched!

cotournix quail chick hatched

I set up the brooder in the spare room, and stared at them in amazement until bedtime.

Wednesday:

At least 2 more are a-hatching this morning!

Breakfast – apple with almond butter and raisins. I’m starting to crave this particular combo daily

apple with almond butter and raisins

Lunch – leftover ribs & veggie spaghetti, hummus with raw veg

leftover and hummus

Snack – a monster cookie from work

Dinner – boiled potato, celery, carrot, and onion until soft and then blended it until smooth. Added some cashew cream, nutritional yeast, and chimmichurri from a previous steak dinner, and threw in some cooked ground turkey. Kind of a kitchen sink soup, it was tasty.

veggie and meat soup

SEVEN MORE CHICKS! Up to 10 Total out of 14 eggs now. Literally popped some popcorn and sat and stared at them all night again. #FreeEntertainment #FrugalHobbies

watching quail TV

Thursday:

Breakfast – apple with almond butter and raisins

apple sliced with almond butter and raisins

Lunch – veggie stir fry and a krispy kreme donut at work

veggie stir fry with a donut

Dinner – pork chops with a massive veggie stir fry & cauliflower rice

pork chops and veggie stir fry

Snack –  made a Whole30 compliant sort-of apple crisp with my instapot applesauce, almonds, coconut, and spices. Don’t even @ me about SWYPO because I already think the whole thing is bunk.

whole30 apple crisp

Friday:

One of the remaining 4 eggs is hatching!!! I’m glad I didn’t give up, and let them go one more day.

Breakfast – apple with almond butter and raisins, surprise! When I find a thing I like, I tend to play it on repeat. Saves time and money.

apple sliced with almond butter and raisins

Lunch – egg salad with flax crackers, hummus and veggies

egg salad with flax crackers and hummus

Snack – someone brought Panera pastries and I had a cranberry one

Dinner – sheet pan ginger salmon with broccoli, and potato and yellow squash fries

sheet pan salmon

The Weekend

Okay for real this time, we will build the coop. Quail grow fast, and these lil guys will be not so little and ready to move outside in 4-5 weeks, so I want to be ready.

baby quail

Can you EVEN with this face?? He’s SNUGGLING MY FINGER WITH HIS TEENY BABY WINGS. My heart is a puddle on the floor.

Food Total: $29.58 + 68.32

Weekly Produce Box = the Keto Box, since it was the best value for the most Whole30 compliant items. We got white sweet potatoes (some of which I’ll try to sprout and grow!), yellow squash, kale, lettuce, spinach, cucumber, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. All the plastic packaging will be returned for them to reuse!

the produce box

And at the store I stocked up on more eggs, a few different types of meats that were on sale, some spiralized veggies to try out (no I do not have a spiralizer yet, and yes I will get one maybe someday).

Meats $28.60 Dairy $5.00 Staples $2.28 Fruit/Veg $31.10
3lb ground turkey 9.97 2 dozen eggs cage free 5 whole wheat pasta x4 2.28 carrots 2lb 0.99
chicken sausages 5 spinach 9oz 2.99
London broil steak 6.36 clementines 3lb 2.99
org chicken breast 2 3.28 spiral veg squash/zucchini 7
pork chops 2 3.99 spiral veg fresh sw pot zucchini 7.98
russet potato 8lb 2.79
celery 2.79
parsley 1.59
The Produce Box 3/4/19 29.58 iceberg 0.99
blackberries 0.99

 

Lessons Learned

Y’all, raising quail is a delight! I had thought I would like it, but now that they are here, I could not be happier. The adults are everything I dreamed and more, and hatching my own is a g#$ d*&$ miracle.

Seriously. I am meant to be a farmer, I believe it with my whole heart. Taking care of critters and plants makes me so unbelievably happy, and to make an omelet or sandwich from eggs I collected myself that morning? Total bliss.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 2/25/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

So, last weekend was a delight. Friday night I went to Legends in Raleigh for my first drag show in a long time. It was very entertaining, with a huge crowd and many talented ‘ladies’. There were some people there promo-ing a new drink, and we got free really soft tshirts. It was a suuuper late night though.

Legends drag show

Therefore I was glad that our brunch with Steve wasn’t too early. We went to True Flavors diner in Durham. The wait was insane, I guess I underestimated how serious a thing brunch is in the South. We walked around and checked out the plaza while we waited, and picked up a few yeasts to try in our next winemaking adventure.

Tru Flavors brunch skillet

And the food was worth the wait. Everyone swooned over theirs, regardless of whether it was chicken and waffles or a skillet meal. There were also plenty of leftovers, so the portion sizes were quite generous. And the coffee milkshake is far more filling than you may give it credit for.

ALSO of note, the boy sprung it on me Saturday night that he wanted to do an elimination diet. We had discussed it before, to try to see if any of his ongoing allergies is food related. So we are doing a Whole30, sort of.

whole30 condiments

The goal is not so much to just make it through 30 days without sugar and grains (sidenote, WTF cutting out whole grains and legumes, two of the healthiest food groups on the planet?!?) but to eat as few typical allergen producing foods as possible for 3 weeks, then to slowly reintroduce one at a time.

Grains, dairy, alcohol, soy, corn, legumes, and sugar are gone.

Meats, all vegetables, any fruit, nuts, seeds, are totally fine.

I spent all of Sunday grocery shopping and meal prepping and creating Whole30 compliant condiments (ketchup, mayo, Ranch, Italian, cashew cream) and snacks.

whole30 snacks

And to kick it off, our first dinner was filet mignon with garlic rosemary potatoes and asparagus. Not feeling deprived yet!

Monday:

Breakfast – fruit smoothie

fruit smoothie

Snack – apricot almond energy balls

Lunch – was a crazzzzzzy day and I ended up stuck away from my desk so I didn’t have my lunch on me. But the cafeteria surprisingly provided. A plain baked potato w hot sauce, relish, salt & pepper, and a side salad with plain vinegar s+p.

potato and salad

Dinner – pumpkin chili: literally just thawed some pumpkin puree from the fall, mixed with a can of whole tomatoes I smushed up and 1lb ground turkey. Added some chili powder and dash of garlic salt, and it was really tasty. I had mine over another plain baked potato.

pumpkin chili over baked potato

Snack – whole apple sliced thin with 2 tbsp almond butter drizzled over it and raisins on top. This is an AMAZING snack FYI.

apple sliced with almond butter and raisins

The boy demolished 90% of a 3lb bag of clementines. By himself.

bag of clementines

Tuesday:

Noticing at this point that I am constantly hungry. Like, my stomach can be stretch-out-full and I’m still hungry.

Breakfast – scrambled quail eggs with potatoes, radishes, peppers, onions, cabbage, yellow squash, and spinach

egg scramble

Lunch – leftover brunch; duck with eggs and roasted veggies and potatoes

leftover brunch

Snack – dried apricots and pistachios

apricots and pistachios

Dinner – Lemon pepper salmon with mashed potatoes and green beans almondine. Can you tell the difference in portions between myself and the boy haha

salmon potatoes and green beans

Wednesday:

Breakfast – fruit smoothie

smoothie in fridge

Snack – apple

Lunch – 3 oz leftover salmon mixed with Whole30 mayo, avocado, and cucumber in lettuce wraps; roasted cauliflower; grapes, almonds

whole30 lunch spread

Snack – energy balls

Dinner – Slow cooker beef roast with rainbow carrots and potatoes.

slow cooker roast beef

The boy decided to make ghetto gyros (get-yos is what he’s calling them) and I put my beef over a huge salad with romaine, avocado, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, and raisins with Whole30 Ranch.

slow cooker roast beef

Feel pretty full. For about 30 minutes. Then starving again.

Snack – pineapple cubes

pineapple and all the whole30 books

Also got a stack of ALL the Whole30 books from a friend who has done it 3 times. Gonna binge read all week now.

Thursday:

Wake up starving.
Breakfast – Giant 5 egg omelet with peppers, onions, and mushrooms that I split w the boy and black coffee

half an omelet

Lunch – leftover pot roast and carrots/potatoes, pineapple

roast and pineapple

Snack – matcha energy ball, clementine, pistachios

matcha energy ball

Dinner – Chicken breasts and baked potato/sweet potato with avocado, cashew cream, salsa, frozen mixed vegetables, homemade purple sauerkraut

huge plate of food

Read almost all of “It Starts With Food” already. NOT convinced at all on their reasoning or ‘science’ for omitting grains/legumes and there are no citations… Same for their pseudoscience claims about soy and phytoestrogens.

Friday:

Woke up with terrible allergies, itchy nose/face, congestion. Pretty sure it’s just spring time and not the diet, though it does claim to help decrease inflammation

Breakfast – egg and lunchmeat sandwich with potato “toast” = slice potatoes thinly, then cook in toaster by popping them down 4-5 times until cooked

breakfast sandwich with potato toast

Lunch – Enormous salad of romaine, spinch, purple cabbage, rainbow carrots, cucumber, avocado, walnuts, and dried apricots with plain vinegar

giant salad and apple

Had to put my fork down and come back to it a few times, because I got nauseated at the thought of another bite of lettuce or cucumber…

Snack – Sliced apple with 2 tbsp almond butter and raisins, a banana, dried green beans

Dinner – ground turkey fajitas; mine was over a salad while the boys was wrapped in steamed cabbage leaves

fajita salad

The Weekend

Big plans this weekend! I’ve got a new greenhouse to assemble, a brooder to prep for this coming week’s chicks (hopefully!) and a new coop to build. Pleeeeeeease let the weather cooperate.

Food Total: $32.13 + $67.83

Weekly Produce Box = Eat the Uglies again, plus a blemished apple stock up box. This is the biggest head of cabbage I’ve ever seen! And I’m gonna make some Instant Pot applesauce for next week snacks.

Produce Blemish Box

We also took a trip to ALDI to stock up on some things to get us through Week 1 of Whole30. I will be eating a million percent more meat than usual, since they took away my grains and legumes, and am a little nervous about it, but willing to give it a try.

I made a meal plan using plenty of produce and frozen items we had at home, with a few additions for the boy’s convenience. He has very busy workdays which means very little time for food, and I’d prefer he eat lunchmeat rolls or drumsticks than skip lunch.

Meats $16.21 Dairy $3.18 Staples $17.22 Fruit/Veg $29.89
chicken drumsticks 3.34 dozen eggs x2 3.18 tomato paste 3 1.17 riced cauliflower 1.89
salmon 1lb 6.39 fresh hot salsa 4.89 steam cali mix veg 0.99
roast beef lunchmeat 3.99 garlic 3 heads 0.79 romaine 3 1.99
turkey lunchmeat 2.49 grapeseed oil 3.99 hashbrowns 1.65
100% juice x2 6.38 3pk bolored peppers 1.99
green grapes 1.5lb 2.69
Mandarins 3lb 2.69
Gala apples 3lb 1.69
avocados 15 10.47
baby bellas 0.99
radishes 0.59
bananas 2 bunches 2.26

Lessons Learned

Whole30 is an AMAZING idea if your diet is shit right now.

If you are eating the “SAD” (Standard American Diet) containing oodles of refined grains and sugars, and minimal produce, you should probably do a Whole30. It will make your health better. Anything that causes you to drop sugar, junk food, and eat more produce will.

However.

For someone who already has a great relationship with and respect for food, especially where it comes from and how high quality it is, eats a wide variety of vegetables and fruits and nuts and seeds, and also knows the actual scientific evidence of the effect of high levels of animal product consumption on human health?

Not so great.

So, I don’t think I will complete this Whole30 journey after all.

I have no suspicions about food allergies, and I have no underlying psychological issues with my relationship with any food or food group, save popcorn. And I may legitimately follow through on 30 days without that.

Also for health reasons I’m going to stay on the no sugar and no alcohol bandwagon. No dairy is easy too, since I use it minimally in my usual life. I will keep cooking Whole30 for the boy, since he is doing this for the elimination and figure-out-allergies reason.

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 2/18/19

 

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

 

Over the weekend I had many adventures, mostly food related of course. I pickled some carrots, cauliflower, and beets. They turned out pretty great. I had a food tour on Saturday that was super fun, everyone was very talkative and there for a good time.

Durham Food Tour

I finally got my egg incubator! That meant that I got to put 14 of my quail eggs in for their 18 day journey. I am impatiently waiting and checking the temp and moisture levels daily. We should have baby chicks by the first week of March and I cannot wait!

quail egg incubator

And Erin from ReachingForFI was in town! We went to AYCE sushi on Sunday, and made an impressive tower of empty plates. She was the most perfect house guest and is welcome back any time.

AYCE Sushi wall of plates

Monday:

Breakfast – cinnamon raisin bagel with almond butter and an apple

bagel with apple and almond butter

Lunch – leftovers from tour

Dinner – I made what was meant to be a sausage and kale soup, but then I decided to let it thicken a bit and eat it over rice. Fabulous decision! Even the boy loved it.

sausage and kale stew over rice

Tuesday:

Breakfast – tropical smoothie and a nut kolachi

tropical smoothie in blender

Lunch – leftover homemade Ethiopian dal, kale, and beet hummus with grape tomatoes and a black bean brownie

leftovers lunch

Snack – apple

Dinner – made a killer mac n cheese, then added some leftover cooked sausage, spinach, and pinto beans

mac n cheese with beans, spinach, and sausage

I also meal prepped a pork roast with beans in the insta pot and a big tray of roasted veggies

Wednesday:

Breakfast – smoothie

Lunch – leftover sausage kale soup and roasted veg

sausage and kale stew over rice

Dinner – had dinner at a friends house, with sausage made on his farm, green beans, rosemary potatoes, and pickled goodies made by yours truly (beet pickled veg and pickled watermelon rind)

pork sausage with veggies and pickles

He’s also a woodworker, and gave me piece of a barrel stave that was smoked and then used for whiskey followed by beer. I added it to my soy sauce, and it has darkened considerably already! I can’t wait to see what the difference in flavor is like.

homemade soy sauce color

Thursday:

Breakfast – spiced pear and raisin oatmeal

spiced pear and raisin oatmeal

Lunch – the last leftover enchilada from last week with avocado, rice, tomatoes, and spicy salsa

leftovers lunch

Snack – leftover from Valentine’s day cookie & chocolate covered strawberry. And then a nut bar on the drive home.

valentines day treats

Dinner – tortellini with sauce (that smelled suspiciously like salsa…)

tortellini

Snack – big ol bowl of popcorn. Clearly I was a bottomless pit for some reason this day…

popcorn

Friday:

Breakfast – burrito of 4 quail eggs scrambled with salsa and spinach

quail egg burrito

Lunch – rice & beans with roasted veggies

leftovers lunch

Snack – bits of PB&J and an apple

snacks

Dinner – leftovers

Food Total: $53.23

Harris Teeter + Weekly Produce Box = Eat the Uglies

Produce Box: Uglies

I am so in love with the movement to eat “ugly produce” that is gaining traction around the US and the world in general. Grocery stores usually have pretty strict standards on produce they will accept, like the size, shape, and color. Anything that has the slightest bruise, dent, nick, or blemish or doesn’t fit these requirements just gets rejected, and thrown out.

So this produce is wasted, sent to landfills, or left in the field to rot. The farmers lose out on money, and it does the world at large a lot of harm, just because we want our apple to look “perfect”.

Guess what folks?

Nature ain’t perfect.

Sometimes carrots have 2 legs, or taters are alien shaped, or apples get gnawed on a little bit. Produce grows from literal dirt, and poo is probably involved somewhere (hopefully, it’s the most perfect fertilizer). It’s still perfectly edible and healthy. Just give it a rinse before you eat or cook it.

The Weekend

I will be avoiding the online hullabaloo over the recently published Alt-FI Manifesto. This blog is not a place for politicking or arguing; it is a place to talk about food and money and health. The end.

I will say I am happy to see those who are willing to have a respectful dialogue regardless of beliefs, and saddened by those who seem to delight in attacking and generalizing.

I will also be attending my first NC Drag Show!

Not my first ever, but first since… oh, over a decade for sure. So I am nervous and excited to see how it goes! It will surely be full of fun and music and glitter.

Then Sunday we have brunch plans with our recent CA transplant Steve & his wife! They came to Durham from San Fran, and I am going to do my darndest to show all the ways the Triangle is far superior! Friendly people, great weather (maybe a losing battle here), and phenomenal cost of living (for now…).

One last announcement…

The boy has decided we are doing a Whole 30

Starting now.

🤪

 

 

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 2/11/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Last weekend we started off with a big bonfire and party, which was a lot of fun. But also tiring. We stayed up way too late, and maybe had a few too many beers. Saturday and Sunday were much slower and quieter haha.

Monday:

Breakfast – green smoothie: spinach, banana, frozen tropical fruit mix, flaxseed

green smoothie

Lunch – it was a super crazy day so I didn’t have time for lunch, but I got a late afternoon cup of tea and a nut bar, so that’s good. Oh, and someone brought Krispy Kreme donuts, so I had one of those.

afternoon tea

Dinner –I treated us to Chipotle burritos! The boy got steak and I got a sofritas with guac and it was glorious

Chipotle sofritas burrito with guac

Tuesday:

Breakfast – berry smoothie

berry black bean smoothie

Lunch – quinoa, cauliflower, black beans and cashews over a bed of mixed greens

quinoa cauliflower salad over a bed of greens

Snack – apple and a KIND bar

afternoon snack

Dinner – Instant Pot Fish & Veggies!

Instant Pot Fish & Veg

Wednesday:

Breakfast – berry smoothie, with black beans!

berry black bean smoothie

Lunch – leftover Instant pot fish & veg

Instant Pot Fish & Veg

Dinner – Enchiladas!

enchiladas

I had thawed a pound of free range Butcher Box ground beef. Mixed with some diced mushrooms and olives, and a healthy scoop of black beans, that made the perfect filling. I wrapped a big spoonful in a tortilla, times ten. Cover in diced tomatoes, chili powder, hot sauce, and garlic salt, plus a little shredded Mexican cheeses.

enchiladas

Thursday:

Breakfast – berry smoothie with black beans

berry black bean smoothie

Lunch – since it was Valentine’s Day, there was a party at work. They provided pizza, and everyone else brought salad and toppings and desserts. I had an eggplant pizza slice, it was surprisingly delicious

Valentines Day pizza & salad Valentines Day pizza & salad

Dinner – the boy always cooks on Valentine’s, since I cook 99% of the time. He met me at the door in a suit, there were candles everywhere, it was lovely. There is a no phone rule on V Day so no photos, sorry!

Friday:

Breakfast – mooooore smoothie!

Lunch – leftover enchiladas

Dinner – more leftover enchiladas! And there are still 2 left if you can believe it. I love making huge batches of meals that last all week

The Weekend

This weekend my pal Erin at Reaching For FI is in town, along with a special guest! And due to unfortunate sickness, we get the honor of hosting them. So I’m pretty stoked about that. Even if I nearly lost her friendship forever over my unpopular opinion on cumin

They already have plans Saturday and I have a Durham Food Tour lined up, so we won’t see much of each other. But then on Sunday, we are debating hitting up an all-you-can-drink mimosa brunch, and for sure will be stuffing our faces at All You Can Eat Sushi.

My sweat pants are ready.

AND, I finally got my quail egg incubator!!!

quail egg incubator

I have collected 7 eggs so far, and however many else I get Sat & Sun, they are all going in on Sunday. Quail eggs only take 18 days total to incubate, so I’ll have thumb-sized little chickies by March 8th! And, because they are small and their lifespan is so quick the girls will hopefully be up and laying eggs for me by April!

Oh, and no, Monday is not a holiday for me, I have to be at work at 8am thankyouverymuch. So if it is a holiday for you, boooo. And I hope you enjoy it.  🙂

Food Total: $53.40

Weekly Produce Box = I ordered all my favorite things this week: bananas, 2 lbs of beets, Brussels sprouts, Pink Lady apple, pears, rainbow carrots, cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash & cucumber

And a stop by Aldi for some sale produce and to restock some of my baking supplies that were running low or out.

Dairy $3.48 Staples $7.16 Fruit/Veg $8.48
Yogurt 12 3.48 4lb sugar 1.99 grape tomatoes pint 1.39
baking cocoa 1.79 blackberries 0.89
chocolate chips x2 3.38 baby bella mushrooms 0.99
cauliflower 1.29
avocados 8 3.92

Lessons Learned

Cooking a big ol batch of something that lasts for many days leftovers is a super time saver. Both the boy and myself had a couple doozies of a day at work this week, and I was too annoyed and/or exhausted to cook. As long as there’s still some enchiladas, then there is no reason to panic.

Also, dang it, not creating waste is next to impossible in this world today. I love having nuts and dried fruits as a snack, but a bar is even more convenient. I know I could make my own batch of KIND bars weekly, and should. But I just cannot dedicate enough mental space and time and effort to it. And that sucks.

Anyone have deep guilt and existential crises over our contribution to the demise of the planet? No, just me? Okay.

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 2/4/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

So, how did everyone enjoy the #SuperBoringBowl? Seriously, I don’t enjoy watching football at the best of times, and this game was a snooze fest. The commercials weren’t even good, and the halftime show was awful. At least the people we were hanging out with were fun, it was nice getting to know our neighbors better.

The deviled quail eggs that I made were an adorable, tiny, hit. The one good thing, besides hanging out and making new friends, was that the game was over earlyish and since we were just across the street, we were home and in bed by 10!

I also batch cooked a bunch of potatoes and sweet potatoes, and some rice and beans and a whole chicken. We also had leftover pulled pork, and 2 racks of ribs from our Costco run. Plus 2 giant bags of spinach and mixed greens, so you’ll see a lot of salad and leftovers this week.

 

Monday:

Breakfast – chocolate peanut butter black bean smoothie!

Yup, it has: 1/2 can black beans, 1 banana, 4 tbsp PB2 powder, 1/2 cup almond milk, handful frozen pineapple, handful of dates, handful of spinach, cocoa powder, flaxseed, and amla. Add water to desired consistency, serves 2.

chocolate peanut butter bean smoothie

Lunch – gigantic rainbow salad

giant salad

Dinner – leftovers from the super bowl party

Tuesday:

Breakfast –green smoothie: spinach, kale, kiwi, mango, pineapple, flax, and coconut water

green smoothie

Lunch – leftover goat cheese sliders with tomato soup and a salad. Oh, and I finally got this set of bamboo utensils that I’ve been eyeing for a long time! There is a fork, spook, knife, and straw with straw cleaning brush included in a canvas wrap. All biodegradable when eventually they are unusable. I love it!

(This blog participates in the Amazon Affiliate program. If you click that link above, and buy something, this blog gets a small commission which doesn’t change the price you pay. The commissions go towards paying for hosting and whatnot here, so if you choose to do that, thanks!)

goat cheese sliders and tomato soup

Snack – strawberries and mandarin oranges

Dinner – chicken and rice with a salad

chicken and rice

Wednesday:

Breakfast – quail egg and bacon breakfast burrito

bacon and egg breakfast burrito

Snack – salted peanuts

peanuts

Lunch – baked potato with black beans, spinach, pulled pork, and salsa

baked potato with black beans and spinach

Dinner – leftovers

Thursday:

Breakfast – green smoothie: spinach, blueberries, mango, kiwi, pineapple, flaxseed, and coconut water

green smoothie

Lunch – white bean and barley with rainbow carrot soup

white bean and barley soup

Dinner – more leftovers!

Friday:

Breakfast – smoothie of whatever was in the fridge

Lunch – baked sweet potato with spinach and black beans and salsa

baked sweet potato and salad

Dinner – we had a bonfire, so I made a bunch of pizzas and a pasta salad. Everyone also brought apps and snacks to share and we had a super fun night.

pizzas

The Weekend

Well Friday we had a bonfire (honestly because we had a huge pile of boxes to burn, but it had been too long since we had a thing too) and stayed up way too late. So Saturday was a lazy day of nothing doing. Sunday is part relaxing still but also part getting adult things done.

Food Total: $61.71

This was a Produce box and a HT run for some yogurts, almond milk, and DiGiorno’s were on sale. Frozen pizza is the boy’s favorite thing to have on hand for emergencies. Meaning I’m out doing something and there is no dinner planned. 🙂

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 1/28/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

The weekend was very relaxing. Saturday we took a reeeally long, like almost 3 hour walk to a park, then found a new way home. Turns out there’s actually a paved walking trail through some woods for part of the way.

On Sunday we went out to lunch with some friends to one of my favorite spots. We thought it was still Restaurant Week… but sadly that ended Saturday. We made the best of it and had a delicious brunch though.

Oh, and also I cut off a donated 12 inches of hair! 😲 Yes, you read that right, a full foot. I’ve been wanting to for years, and finally just said enough is enough. I sent it to Hair We Share, to give a free wig to a child who lost their hair due to chemo or other medical issues. Its been quite and adjustment so far, but I’m getting used to it.

one foot less hair

Monday:

Breakfast – scrambled quail egg breakfast burritos with mixed potatoes, vegan cheese, and hummus

potato and quail egg burrito

Lunch – Carrot dogs! A fun thing I’ve noticed on vegan blogs, where you marinate cooked carrots to taste like hot dogs. So I gave it a try, and they are actually quite delicious

vegan carrot dog

Dinner – Rice bowl loaded with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, sweet potato, carrot, some shredded chicken breast & hummus

veg and bean and hummus rice bowl

Tuesday:

Breakfast –smoothie

Lunch – leftover white bean soup & a big salad

salad and white bean soup

Snack – nuts & berries

Dinner – Butternut squash stuffed with black rice, lentils, carrot & onion. This is something I just kinda threw together with what I had and felt like eating, and bless the boy, he tried it. And actually liked it! Success.

stuffed butternut squash

Wednesday:

Breakfast – smoothie

Snack – green tea & a KIND bar

tea and nut bar

Lunch – out to lunch with a friend! We go out 2-3 times per month and I really love it because we don’t see each other much outside of work. So it is worth the $6-$9 per lunch.

out to lunch

Dinner –family was visiting overnight, so we took them out to Neomonde Durham! I got the half falafel pita platter with grape leaves and quinoa tabbouleh and it was amazing. Their garlic paste is to diiiiiiiiie for! And we ended up with oodles of leftovers.

Neomonde platters

Thursday:

Breakfast – smoothie

Snack – peanut butter

Lunch – leftover Neomonde & a salad

neomonde leftovers

Dinner – roasted veggies with rice & black beans

Snack – zombie corn! This is popcorn with nutritional yeast and chlorella to make it green. Looks crazy, tastes awesome, tons of health benefits.

zombie corn

Friday:

Breakfast – raisin bagel with almond butter and coffee

raisin bagel with almond butter

Lunch – the rest of the leftover roasted veggies with black beans and rice

roasted veg rice bowl

Snack –2 Thin Mint cookies! Just kidding, I ate the whole sleeve

two thin mint cookies

Dinner – Since Veganuary was over, when the boy said he wanted pepperoni pizza, I said sure why not! So we had frozen pepperoni pizzas haha

The Weekend

Well the food tour on Saturday got cancelled, so the day is mine. And thank goodness because we planned a big, ridiculous, outrageous stockup trip to Costco. Let’s just say some travel hacking is in the works, and to hit the minimum spends, we are front loading our food expenses, along with many other things.

And of course Sunday is the Super Bowl. Not that I care all the much about the game (still don’t know who is playing…) but we got invited over by our neighbors and I’m pretty stoked. It’s taken over 2 years, but we are finally making friends that live by us!

Food Total: Not even telling

The Costco trip… was crazy. Let’s just say we gave our über frugal friend serious heart palpitations!

Speaking of heart palpitations, February is Heart Health month! I’ll just say it again, straight from my Instagram:

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 1/21/19

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

The weekend was great, I led a really fun Durham food tour on Saturday. 4 of the visitors were a young man touring colleges and his family, and the others were 2 couples visiting as well (a mom and daughter, and old friends) so none had ever been to Durham before. I entertained them all night with stories and things I’ve learned.

table covered in food at Neomonde Durham

We got a crazy huge spread at Neomonde. I cannot say enough nice things about them! Their food is amazing and super fresh and tasty, it is Mediterranean/Lebanese. Best hummus I’ve had in a long time.

the Little Dipper Durham salted caramel chocolate

And I looooove that we end the tours with the chocolate dippers at The Little Dipper now. I just love their staff and atmosphere, as well as the food of course! We had the Fluffer Nutter (chocolate, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff) and the Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel. Mmmmm… they even gave me a to-go cup of the leftover chocolate! I had joked about it with my group, but they insisted…

carton full of quail and chicken eggs

And I am just so so thankful to finally have farm friends! To be able to visit the chickens and guinea hens, and have my own quail… the magic has definitely not faded, not yet! Every time I go out to the coop and find an egg, it is a tiny miracle.

Monday:

Breakfast – this was a holiday, so we slept in! Black coffee

Lunch – I had some small corn tortillas that needed using, so I brushed them with lime and toasted them in the oven, then loaded them up with refried pinto beans, salsa, red sauerkraut, and avocado for some tasty tostadas

tostadas

Dinner – Refrigerator soup! Basically bits of whatever veggies are about to go south, some beans, dried mushrooms, and veggie broth. With the rest of the toasted corn tortillas crushed on top.

refrigerator soup

Snack – We had a really awesome mixed berry ‘soup’ haha and a cup of turmeric golden milk for a nightcap

bowl of mixed berry nice cream

Tuesday:

Breakfast – pear and raisin oatmeal with flaxseed

pear and raisin oatmeal

Lunch – I forgot I’d ordered a lunch that got cancelled and rescheduled a while ago… so we had Panera today. Conveniently the same day Angela decided we would start tracking trash again… 🙈

boxed Panera lunch

Snack – local greenhouse strawberries and orange slices

strawberries and oranges

Dinner – mango tempeh and roasted veggies with black rice, and a garlic tahini hot sauce

mango tempeh and roasted veggies

Wednesday:

Breakfast – pear and raisin oatmeal with flaxseed (hey, I had 2 pears)

pear and raisin oatmeal

Lunch –mango tempeh and roasted veggies with black rice

mango tempeh and roasted veggies

Snack – local greenhouse strawberries and orange slices

strawberries and oranges

Dinner – giant salad of mixed greens & arugula, with seasame seeds, dried apricot, and walnuts. Dressing of tahini, lemon juice, garlic.

big salad

Snack – mixed berry smoothie with flaxseed and amla and spinach. I found it amusing, the size difference of our cup and spoon.

blender and coffee cup of smoothie

Thursday:

Breakfast – cinnamon raisin bagel with almond butter

bagel with almond butter

Lunch – I had some black beans left from the weekend batch cook, so I just added some dried onion, cumin, lime juice and salsa and used my immersion blender to make it a soup. Plus a big salad.

salad and black bean soup

Snack – faux Oreo cookies

Dinner –Instant pot baked potatoes smothered in vegan chili with vegan cheddar and fresh guac

chili baked potato

Friday:

Breakfast – big rainbow smoothie: canned beets, my last persimmon, spinach, frozen pineapple, a fresh banana, frozen mixed berries, flax seed, amla powder, coconut water

big rainbow smoothie

Lunch – the rest of the leftover mango tempeh with roasted veg

Snack – homemade garlic hummus and cucumber slices

hummus and cucumbers

Dinner – Went out with a friend for dinner on Friday for some awesome girl talk and Mexican food. This local place called Toreros has really good food and decent margaritas. I got a vegetarian burrito that was so enormous, I literally just started laughing when she put it on the table.

huge vegetarian burrito

The Weekend

This weekend we have no set plans really. Just relaxing at home and taking it easy. Doing some cooking projects, and maybe going out for the end of Triangle restaurant week.

Food Total: $164.99

Oof. Y’all.

I have totaled up January food spending, and it is not pretty.

We need to reign it in. Maybe I will ban myself from grocery shopping for a few months.

Dairy $6.48 Staples $69.77 Fruit/Veg $57.68
greek yogurt 3.99 diced tomatoes 12 6 frozen fruits 3lb x5 39.95
almond milk 2.49 canned beans 4 + 2 6pk 8.38 brussels sprouts 2.5
can pineapple 2.38 bananas 0.99
progresso 0.97 kiwi 6 1
spinach bags 2 5.98
frozen pizza 9.49 avocados 1.79
salad mixes 2 3.98
lemons 1.49

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 1/14/19

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

The weekend with the sister in law was super fun. I love having people visit so I can cook for them, and an excuse to go out too. She liked Durham, and I think she wouldn’t be too mad if she ended up moving here. 

quail eggs

The birds are laying pretty well, I’m getting 3 eggs a day on average, sometimes 4. And the soy sauce is starting to get some color to it. I try to keep it by the window with the blinds open so that it gets some sunlight, that is supposed to help it darken.

soy sauce fermenting

Monday:

Breakfast – Peaches & Cream oatmeal. 1/2 cup oats + 1/2 can of peaches, microwave 1 minute, stir. Add 1 tbsp ground flaxseed and a splash of almond milk, microwave 1 more minute. Done.

Peaches and cream oatmeal

Lunch – leftover red beans and rice, with some roasted broccoli and cauliflower. Clementine for dessert.

leftovers

Dinner – Teriyaki tempeh! One of my absolute favorite things to do with tempeh.

tempeh teriyaki

Tuesday:

Breakfast – wasn’t very hungry, so I just had an apple. Clearly, I need to remove my current nail polish…

pink lady apple

Lunch – leftover pierogi: mashed potato and applesauce. With some fresh cherries.

pierogi and cherries

Snack – hummus & cucumbers

hummus and cucumber

Dinner – Polenta and charro beans. The polenta was supposed to set in cans so I could cut them into rounds, but that didn’t work. So I just plopped it in a pan and baked it. And the charro black beans are a friends’ recipe that is super tasty.

polenta and charro beans

Wednesday:

Breakfast – accidentally skipped it…

Lunch – leftover rice and roasted veggies with falafel balls and hummus, big salad on the side

falafel balls and salad

Dinner – Simple: pasta shells with organic mushroom sauce, edamame on the side. And I found Lienenkeugel Berry, so yeah, that’s my favorite light beer and I bought some.

pasta night

Thursday:

Breakfast – Strawberry and peach oatmeal. Handful dried peaches sliced, 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water. Microwave. Add some fresh diced strawberries and chia seeds, microwave again.

strawberry chia oatmeal

Lunch – leftover beans and polenta with avocado

leftovers

Dinner – out to the Carolina Brewery in Chapel Hill. I had the Veggie Burger and fries. It was really good, hearty with black beans and some subtle spice. The slaw was meh. But the honey wheat beer was darn good. 

veggie burger

Friday:

Breakfast – leftover sweet potato waffles with berry sauce. Just microwaved a cup of frozen berries with some maple syrup and blended it with an immersion blender.

sweet potato waffles

Lunch – repeat of yesterday’s leftover lunch, plus salsa

Snack – hummus and veg

hummus with veggies

Dinner – dinner party at a friend’s house. She made an amazing salad with pulled pork and a creamy cilantro sauce. I am totally willing to break veganuary for the sake of hanging out with good friends and catching up since the holidays. Plus it was damn good!

pulled pork salad

The Weekend

This weekend I have a Durham food tour on Saturday, so that should be fun. And we got invited to hang out with our neighbors on Sunday. Looking forward to getting to know them better. Since Monday is a holiday, I think that will be the around-the-house productive day. 

Food Total: $173.08

Yeah… I didn’t want to admit to this but I can’t lie to yall. I went to the store with the intention of buying 3 things, for a total of $12. But then I saw the clearance cart, with some things we use often at a ridiculous deal. When something you need that is usually $43 is marked down to $13, you buy it all!

Then I made the mistake of calling the boy to see if he needed anything while I was at the store. He has recently become hooked on the dried fruits and nuts as a snack too, so we are now basically out, and he requested more. And to balance the $50 of healthy food, we also ended up with $50 worth of beer haha

Staples $49.44 Fruit/Veg $12.11 Extras $111.53
dried apricot 15.99 bananas 1.35 stuff 52.8
dried prunes 11.49 avocado x10 5 cracklin oat bran 4.99
pitted dates 10.99 tomato sauce x4 5.76 leinenkeugel 14.99
dried cranberry 2     blue moon seasonal x2 29.98
raisins 4.49        
dried peaches x2 4.48     tax 8.77

 

Well, next week is another chance to do better.

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?