Do I need this?

Do I need this?  No, seriously.  Do I really need this?

Every year, I make a new resolution.  I know some people aren’t into this sort of thing.  It never really happens, they say.  You’re only setting yourself up for failure.  I kind of, sort of, partially agree.  But at the same time, I love the idea of setting new goals.  The idea that something wonderful—life changing, even!—has the potential to be achieved.

And that is why, when 2009 rolled into 2010, I made the pact with myself that I would always ask myself one question before purchasing anything.  Do I need this?

All in all, I try to be careful with where the money goes.  For example, I will never—never, never, never—throw food away unless it’s moldy, smelly, or past the point of safety.  Today I made the discovery that freezing overripe bananas can come in super handy…

 

 Did you know that a frozen banana works just as well as a fresh banana in a morning bowl of oats?

It’s true.

I think I was a little over excited about this idea, as I marveled over the way my oats came out fluffy, sweet, perfect.  It tasted a little like banana bread in a bowl.  Not bad for an almost over ripe banana that might have otherwise been thrown away.

Score one for my New Years Resolution!

 

 Breakfast

  • 1/4 c. each of oatbran and wheat bran
  • 1 very ripe banana, frozen
  • 1 c. milk + 3/4 c. water
  • toppings: Galaxy Granola, chia seeds and peanut butter
  1. Place the water and milk in a saucepan with the frozen banana and bring to a boil.  Add oatbran and place timer for 4-6 minutes.
  2. Halfway through cooking, when oatbran begins to thicken, add wheat bran and stir, stir, stir.  Mash up that banana a little with the back of your spoon.
  3. When cooked to perfection—however you most prefer—pour into bowl and add your favorite toppings!!!

 

I also like to make heaping salads full of leftovers.  You know, things like the last remains of a salsa jar.  The last carrot and mushroom.  A few garbanzos.  A couple Wasa’s, way back in the closet.  Things like that.

It makes me feel economical.  Money-wise.  On track with my New Year’s Resolution.

 

 And then there are those times when I’m walking through Whole Foods or Trader Joes, with a growling stomach and a slowly deminishing resolve to stay on budget.  Each isle asking me that one haunting question:

Do you need this?  No, seriously.  Do you need this?

I firmly stood my ground until walking past the nut butters.  When asked that one question, I said YES! to the almond butter.

And a YES! to the medjool dates.

I honestly don’t know how these two items snuck into the cart, but they seemed necessary at the time.  Like water on a deserted island, you know? 

Okay, so my effort to stay on budget could use a little tweaking.  I didn’t really need the almond butter and I certainly didn’t need the dates (gasp).  But I came to the conclusion that being money-wise is a little like a smart, healthy diet.

Balance.  A little give and take.  Learning to say no to some things, yes to others, and knowing that it’s okay to include your favorite things now and then. 

And some dinners are just so darn cheap that they completely make up for it.  Black bean burgers, for example!

 

 I followed my basic recipe, except I used 3 T. of worcestershire sauce instead of just the one.  It was delicious, and I didn’t need to buy a thing for it from the grocery store.  Cheap, cheap, cheap!

And deliciously nutritious.  Obviously, that is just as important. 😉

On the side, there were sliced veggies from the garden, some sweet potato fries, onions and lots of ketchup.

 

I highly recommend this recipe, whether you’re attempting to find more affordable meals, tasty vegetarian options, quick lunches-to-go for salads/sandwiches, easy dinners for busy nights, or even if you’re just looking to include more beans into your diet.  Whichever the case, this recipe is one of my personal favorites.  😀 

Question: What are some foods that you like to splurge on?   What are some of your favorite, most afforadable meal & snacks?  I love splurging on good nut butters and yogurts.  Other than that, I like to cook vegetarian meals in between meat meals in order to keep costs lower while also including many of the health benefits. 😀

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how convenient

Two busy bumblebees.

One rainbow.

One leaf falling.

Four birds flying.

Let’s just say that looking up at the sky while in a side plank position is way more exciting when done outdoors versus looking up at the ceiling of my basement.  Tack it on to the ever growing list of why I love summer so much.

Followed by my morning workout which included fifteen minutes of arms and fifteen minutes of legs, I set out to make a hot, steamy bowl of oatbran.  Leave it to me to crave such a breakfast on one of the hottest days of the year (although, I know for a fact that I’m not alone in this 😉 ).

  • 1/4 c. oatbran
  • 1/4 c. wheatbran
  • 1 c. milk + 3/4 c. water
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 c. fresh strawberries
  • toppings: 1 tsp chia seeds, 1 T. Galaxy Granola, 1 scoop of peanut butter

It made for one delicious breakfast.

Morning Snack: a juicy orange

By noon today, it was 85 degrees and humid—I had one thing on the brain: salads.  I can not get enough of these big bowls of produce.  And for one reason or another, this bowl of green was particularly interesting today. 

Full of f-r-e-s-h. 

Full of c-r-u-n-c-h. 

Full of carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, mushrooms, sliced bell peppers and white beans. 

I’m really into simple dressings lately.  This salad was drizzled with a small amount of olive oil (about 1 tsp) and followed with a bit of sea salt.  So simple.  So delicious. 

+ kashis and a slice of swiss

+ some after-lunch sweetness in the form of my favorite kind of berry

 Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. plain yogurt + 2 T. crushed flax + 2 T. Galaxy Granola Hint of Honey

When it comes to dinner, who doesn’t like a bit of convenience now and then?  I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes when life gets hectic, dinner needs to be simple.  And quick.

I was tempted to pick up a box of veggie burgers for tonight’s dinner, even though it wasn’t on my shopping list (okay, $4 wouldn’t exactly break the bank, but I’m trying to be good here.)  I sighed and placed them back into the freezer as I scrambled to think of something that would be just as quick and easy.  Then it occurred to me…duh!  I could make my own!

I had successfully made homemade black bean burgers in the past (using KERF for inspiration!,) and I also happened to remember that they were super easy to prepare.  Cheap and convenient?  Sign me up!

Black Bean Burgers

  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 T. worcestershire sauce
  • lots of garlic powder (lots, lots, lots)
  • cayenne to taste (remember that this stuff is hot)
  1. Just mash everything together really well.  It takes some good strong effort.  Don’t be afraid to show those beans who’s the boss!
  2. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or longer.
  3. Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray, heat to medium and cook 4 patties until browned on one side.  Flip over and cook until browned to preference.  About 10-12 minutes total.

The first time I made these, I undercooked them.  This time I remained patient and let them crisp and brown up nicely.

Served with side salads, sweet potato fries, a whole wheat bun and some Trader Joe’s catsup.  They were just as delicious as I remembered them to be.  Yum!

Off to make a snack and read some of Eat, Pray, Love.  I’d like to finish the book before the movie comes out. 😀

Question: It’s late.  You’re hungry.  Food needs to be placed on the table as quickly as possible.  What do you do/make/buy?  First I grab a carrot stick or a handful of almonds to prevent myself from chewing off my arm.  And some of the easiest meals that I’ve made in a hurry include sweet potatoes with black beans&salsa, or scrambled veggie omelets.  In a pinch, cereal isn’t such a bad option either.  😉