Day 15: $160 Challenge


Yesterday was pretty uneventful. I had been craving v-con’s cheesy sauce, so had to split groceries with hubs again. Besides, we needed margarine.


Day 15:

Starting Cash:     $110.79

Spent:     $5.78

Ending Cash:     $105.01



Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread with Flax @$2.99, 2 packages firm tofu @$3.59, 1 jar minced garlic @$2.49, 1 bag baby spinach @$2.50.

all divided by 2.



  • PB Banana Smoothie


  • Leftover Split Pea Soup


  • Tofu Florentine

We have a ton of nutritional yeast, so this recipe was actually very cheap and easy to make. I’m not going to write it out since it is from a cookbook, but you can easily find it in a Google search if you’re so inclined.

As you can see, we used raw spinach. I will def be sticking to cooked spinach for this dish in the future.

We still have half a loaf of Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted flax bread, so that’s what we used. I love Ezekiel, but really would have preferred an english muffin, or home fries.



look at that liquid gold.


Day 14: $160 Challenge


Halfway through on slightly less than $50! There will be Halloween this year!


Day 14:

Starting Cash:     $110.79

Spent:     $0

Ending Cash:     $110.79



  • Banana
  • Espresso
  • Coupla cookies


  • Leftover Split Pea Soup


  • Vermicelli with Peanut Sauce

Pretend there’s something green in there to make it pretty.


It is kind of fun to be creative and use whatever is already in the house… and this recipe is high class, yo.


Vermicelli with Peanut Sauce


1/2 c peanut butter

1/4 c soy sauce

1/4 c water

2 Tbs rice vinegar

2 Tbs lemon juice

3 Tbs chopped onion

1 Tbs ground ginger

2 Tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

2 big handfuls dry vermicelli

1 lg carrot

1 med onion

4 oz chopped mushroom


Blend together the first 9 ingredients (peanut butter through crushed red pepper). Set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add vermicelli and stir for 5 minutes or so, then strain and set aside.

Heat a pan to high heat. Dry fry the veg for 3-5 minutes until they are hot and have sear marks.

Toss all ingredients together and serve.


Day 13: $160 Challenge

He made the cookies!

A few days before we decided to do this blasted food budget challenge hubs bought ingredients to make these cookies. I have been waiting patiently for 2 weeks… o.m.g. They are totally worth the wait. Earth Balance is the only ingredient we did not have, so he subbed in 1 cup oil. This is definitely not a healthy recipe, but oh wells.



Try saying no to these babies.


Day 13:

Beginning Cash:     $110.79

Spent:     $0

Ending Cash:     $110.79



  • Espresso with rice milk and maple syrup


  • Toooo many Coooooooookies
  • Glass of rice milk
  • maybe I had a cocktail or 2…


  • 2 big bowls Split Pea Soup. This makes up for the rest of the day, right?
  • In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll probs have more cookies later.

Who wants to watch The Exorcist?

This Particular Split Pea Soup (tastes better than the name implies).


1 med onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped (optional)

1/2 Tbs or so garlic powder

1/2 Tbs or so Berbere Ethiopian seasoning (optional)

1 tsp or so ground cumin (optional)

3 Rapunzel Bouillon cubes or 6 servings any vegan bouillon

splash white cooking wine (optional)

16 oz dried split peas

6-7 c water


saute onions and carrots in oil over med-high heat for 2 min. Dump on seasonings. Stir. Pour in wine. Stir. Add bouillon and split peas. Stir. Add water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer. Cover 45 minutes. Uncover, remove from heat, and stir. Wait 10-15 min before serving.

The same recipe can be made with dried yellow split peas, or any kind of dried lentil. I just happened to have a bag of split peas in the pantry.

Day 12: New Vegan Stuff in Rochester!

First off, in case you haven’t heard, there is a new ALL VEGAN restaurant in town called The Red Fern! I haven’t been there yet, but I have heard the food is amazing. The website is still under construction at this point. I have a feeling we will be there on November 1st once this food budget is done!

The second awesome announcement is about fast food! Mighty Taco in Henrietta knows what vegan means and they want our money! The word Vegan is on their menus! Have you ever seen such a thing?? How cool would it be if other restaurants, like maybe Taco Bell, would follow suit? I’m sure you’ve heard the overly publicized news that Chipotle is working on de-bacon-fatting their refried beans in all locations, too… exciting stuff!


Check it out!

Top: in-store menu, green box, top right

Bottom Left: drive-thru menu, green box, left center

bottom Right:  close-up of drive-thru menu, last item “Garden Burrito” with the word vegan next to it!


Do you see?!?

So yeah. Today was a terrible day for saving. Sure, I could have had a burrito and walked away, but I wanted to know if the guacamole was vegan, you know, for research purposes. So, after asking the cashier to see the ingredients list I had to order chips and a drink. It all sounded perfectly logical at the time, until my bill came to $7.14.


My friends have been here a few times and loved this stuff. Maybe we just had a crappy burrito-artist today, but ours was just okay. The chips were fine for prepackaged chips, but the guacamole was slimy and gross. My advice is to save your money and stick with just the burrito… or go to Taco Bell…. or make your own. I don’t know… the tortilla wrap itself was pretty good. Maybe it will be better the next go round.

Trying out a new restaurant was fun either way. We don’t normally do the whole fast food thing, and it was pretty funny to be standing in front of the drive-thru speaker snapping pics.

As much fun as that was, it’s Saturday. The weather is beautiful and we all know this is not going to last much longer. I wanted to do moooore. We tried doing outdoorsy things… took the foster dog out for a walk at Ellison and tried to whore him out to the highest bidder… no luck. So, what is there for a cash-strapped couple to to do on a Saturday in Rochester, NY? Why, Movies 10 of course!

As I’m sure everyone is aware, Movies 10 only charges $2/ticket max to see second-run movies. Second-run movies are basically first-run movies these days, so this is a steal. We saw This Is The End. It was thoroughly entertaining… totally worth $2 and then some.


Day 12:

Starting Cash:     $119.93

Spent:     $9.14*  (ouch)

Ending Cash:     $110.79

*It looks like we’ll be eating our creativity the rest of the week.



1 Garden Burrito, Chip Strips, Guac, and a Cherry Pepsi @$7.14, 1 Movies 10 ticket @$2.00



  • black coffee


  • Burrito, Chips, Drink (couldn’t eat the guac)


  • MorningStar Chik’n Griller on Ezekiel toast with onions and bbq sauce
  • Steamed broccoli with hot sauce

day 12

Day 11: $160 Challenge

Day 11:

Beginning Cash:     $123.71

Spent:     $3.78

Ending Cash:     $119.93



Split groceries with the hubs:

1 block firm tofu @$1.79, 1 quart Wegmans rice milk @$1.69, 1 can chickpeas @$0.59, 1 jar peanut butter @$1.69, 1 bunch bananas @$1.08, 8oz. sliced mushrooms @$2.00, fresh broccoli @$1.98, 1 lb carrots @$1.29

minus money from recyclables returned for deposit (keepin’ it classy)…

all divided by 2.



  • black coffee
  • a banana


  • 2 waffles
  • the rest of the bag of Gardein seven grain crispy tenders in the fridge at work


  • tofu scramble
  • toast



Not the most photogenic of foods

This Particular Tofu Scramble (tasted better than the name implies).

Heat oil in a skillet. Add a rinsed and drained block of firm tofu to the hot pan. Chop tofu with a spatula and evenly spread it out in the pan like an omelet. Raise heat to high. Cover the surface of the tofu with garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, nooch, and black salt. Let the bottom of the tofu brown before stirring. Push tofu to the edges of the pan so there is a hole in the center of the pan. Dump a chopped onion, 1 shredded carrot, and a couple of handfuls chopped mushroom into the center of the pan. Press everything down so the bottom will brown. Once the veggies start to sweat, lower heat to med-high. Stir veg together with scramble. Press everything down into pan and wait while it browns more. At this point we stirred in some Vegg, but I think it would have tasted better without.



Day 9: $160 Challenge =(a day behind)=

So yeah. I have been slacking on the blog a bit. This blog post is  for yesterday. I have also seriously been slacking on schoolwork this term. My entire day off Tuesday was spent burning Halloween music for work… for fun. I was determined to be productive yesterday. The library opened at 9AM and I was there, slacking off, all day. But first, in trying to avoid losing morning momentum, I opted for Starbucks drive-thru over using the espresso maker at home. I thought I still had money on my card. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough to cover it… so, I also bought 2 Luna bars.


Day 9:

Starting Cash:     $132.95

Spent:     $3.45

Ending Cash:     $129.50

I’m up $16.03. Not bad! That should at least cover the gas for an outing.



1 Venti Blonde Roast, $1.47 after prepaid card was applied, 1 Caramel Nut Brownie Luna bar @$0.99, 1 Peanut Butter Cookie Luna bar @$0.99


v— I’m sure you can guess what I had for:


Hint: it was everything mentioned so far in this post.

I think I’m over the whole Luna bar thing now. *tummy ache*


  • leftover couscous and this particular chili.


The Bearded Lady on Food Face plates!

  • Chickpea Cutlets (Can you tell I am a big fan of the Veganomicon?)
  • Roasted Vanilla Carrots


Roasted Vanilla Carrots


2 large carrots (this is all we had left; adjust recipe as needed)

1 Tbs vegan margarine

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. maple syrup

sprinkle o’ salt


Preheat oven to 400. Wash carrots. Mix vanilla and maple in a small bowl. Spread margarine on carrots and place in a small bread pan and sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and pour vanilla maple on carrots. Bake another 20 minutes, turning carrots every 10 minutes to evenly coat.

Her beard is maple mustard. Her hair is BBQ sauce. Ain’t she purdy?

day 10

Day 8: $160 Challenge

$0 spent! Easy to do when ya don’t leave the house. High five?

We actually had a lot of food choices here. I could have had oatmeal with my bananas and rice milk. I could have had beans on toast. I could have had chickpea salad, noodle soup, or made cutlets with the 1/4 box or so left of vital wheat gluten.


I had 2 plain Boca chicken patties and a Lara bar that was stowed in the fridge a few weeks ago after the Buffalo Dirty Girl Mud Run.

I did make a healthy dinner, though. 😀





Couscous is by far my favorite pasta. We topped this with a hybrid of something like chili and a Mediterranean lima bean dish from the Veganomicon. I’m going to call it… Chili! Clever, right?

Oh yeah, remember how I said we were out of TVP? I was wrong. Clearly, we need to clean out the pantry.


This Particular Chili (tasted better than the name implies).


2 med onions, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 lg can whole tomatoes, manually crushed and/or chopped

1 regular sized can each black and kidney beans (or whatever beans you like)

1/2 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp oregano,

1/2 tsp thyme, salt, pepper

2 Tbs chili powder

1 Rapunzel bouillon

1/2 c TVP (we used beef style)

… and these last 3 ingredients make this chili special …

pinch nutmeg

2 Tbs red wine vinegar

1 Tbs maple syrup


Saute onions in oil in soup pot. Add everything. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover for 40 minutes. Serve on couscous.


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