Every Saturday I do a shopping “top off”.  I needed to pick up a couple of things so that I could make my meals for the week. Last week I talked about embracing The Art of Intentional Usage. I am trying to use what I have with intention, deliberateness, and focus. The budget item that I am supper focused on for the month of October is one of my favorite things ever-FOOD!!

I love food. I love looking at it, eating it, thinking about it, cooking it, going to markets, and basically anything else associated with food…that’s normal (ahem).

So, when doing a challenge like this one I am deeply focused on maintaining quality, staying healthy, ow sodium, in addition to saving money. That means that I still will continue cooking my food and creating  yummy Pinterest worthy and blog worth meals.

So how did the first week go? 

It actually went pretty well! I had a pretty interesting experience at the grocery store. Here’s the recap.

Food finds in the Pantry or I wanted to buy it but it was already in my freaking HOUSE!

  • Mueslix-I wanted it for breakfast. It’s delicious if you haven’t had it! I would have gone over my budget if I purchased it so I had to but it back on the shelf. When I got home and looked in my pantry I discovered a brand new (unopened) box of mueslix.
  • Black Pepper-I needed black pepper. Again, I could have purchased it. I looked through my pantry and discovered a pack of fresh black peppercorns purchased during my fresh chai making days. I ground the pepper up and I’m ready to go!
  • Nutritional Yeast-WTH?! Ok, I did a vegan challenge at the beginning of the year and am trying to eat more vegan meals throughout the week. I found some recipes that I wanted to try but they needed nutritional yeast (a vegan staple for cheesy tastes) Well…it was still in my pantry. Vegan/Vegetarian challenge is on this week.
  • Panko/Bread Crumbs-I was starting to stress because I wanted to cook some things that included panko or bread crumbs. I prefer panko (a Japanese bread crumb-much lighter in texture) I was about to make my own when I discovered I still had some in my pantry!

Additional Food Purchased (sort of) outside of Groceries Expenses:

  • Starbucks-Free (free-used TRowe Price Starbucks gift card from FinCon)
  • 2 cups of coffee at Whole Foods (2 different times) for free-had punch cards that I redeemed
  • 2 chocolate toffee bars to pair with the above coffees ($2.43)
  • Chicken soup on Friday ($7) I didn’t prep anything for Friday so I bought a delicious freshly made soup from a local business.
  • Total: $9.43

As I go through the process of embracing this challenge I realize a couple of really important things that are helping me be successful at tackling this:

  • Knowing how to cook is key-I would say that around 90% of the food I eat is food that I prepare in my own home. I love, love, love good food/happy hours/ and dinners out. However, I would prefer to cook the entire month to have the one meal I eat be KICK A@@ then eat subpar food throughout the month and spend unnecessary money.
  • Being open to different type of foods is huge! I cannot eat the same thing all the time. It is horribly boring. Because of that I have a lot of fun exploring recipes from different countries (and U.S. regions).  A lot of these recipes are inexpensive, delicious, and require very little tweeking in order to cook to my palate.
  • The internet is awesome-If you need additional inspiration go to Pinterest or just Google recipes using a food item that you aren’t sure about using-but is in your home.
  • Motivation helps-If you’re motivated then you can’t help but rock a challenge like this one.
  • A Plan-Or, you have to be organized to make this work.

This week’s recipes include the following:

  • Lentil Fritters-Lentils, green onion, garlic, cilantro, and simmered in a vegetarian broth. Cook a little dry. You can add shredded fresh zucchini as well. Then, fry! Topped with a Greek yogurt and horseradish sauce
  • Macro Rice Bowl-With pickled cabbage, wakame (yes, I actually have dried seaweed) sweet potatoes, and black beans.
  • Soup in adorable containers inspired by this Pinterest pin. Am.In.Love.
  • Saigon Rolls-Inspired by Native Foods (vegan restaurant)
  • Vegan Shrimp Scampi-made with garlic and Sophie’s choice vegan shrimp (they are DELICIOUS)
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic-these are in the process of going bad. So, I will clean the outside and then roast them. Delicious.
  • Lemon Olive Oil Cake-Yummy!

So, we’ll see how this vegetarian/vegan thing will go while eating only what’s already in my home. I love doing challenges!

Are you doing a challenge this month? What type of challenge?

How successful have you been so far?

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I am an obsessive foodie, but not self-righteous with it, love travel, meeting new people, helping you look good, and am freaked out by people who don't enjoying reading...something! Grab a Perrier, read my blog, feel free to drop me a line! Hope to hear from you soon.