Friday, May 06, 2011
We've not veered from Vegan since last Sunday's first Flexitarian free for all. (the salmon and cheese sauce).
Interestingly, I find myself able to say no to things just because I know there is something else I could have and would rather have. Weird.
Since we talked about costs and wondered how much this adventure would cost I thought I'd share my findings and lists with you.
We averaged $100.00 a week for three adults. This was 90% organic and without pinching pennies. This was also all of the food we purchased. No restaurants etc. We all packed our lunches and/or ate at home.
I'll put a TJ (Trader Joes) or WF (Whole Foods) for items that are a better deal at one place or the other (some aren't available in both places.)
We did a big run every ten days or so, with an occasional jaunt for something we ran out of. I've made comments regarding how often I bought or what discovery I made about the items.
Vanilla Almond Milk (TJ) (2 half gallons)
Coconut Milk (WF) (2 half gallons)
(I have just discovered that Swag Bucks has coupons for So Delicious coconut milk and Larabars. You join Swag Bucks, go to coupons, print them and get Swag points when they are redeemed. This is pretty sweet because the Swag points can be turned into merchandise or gift cards. Each coupon you redeem is worth 10 points and a $5.00 Amazon giftcard is 450 points. Not like I'll earn one every day, or even every week, but a buck here and there adds up. So if you don't swag and want to
ONCE A MONTH or so we also buy:
Earth Balance Non-Soy Spread in the tub (WF)
(I've heard the sticks don't do so well in baked goods so I haven't baked with them...the tub is easy enough)
Soy or Coconut Milk Yogurt (Soy especially plain soy for Naan Bread) (WF)
Fresh Vegetables: (The trick is to plan out what you will be having for the week or so. You don't want so much produce it goes bad, but not too little either. You can be creative with produce. Search for recipes that use the ingredient you have on hand. Throw together a lasagna either with noodles or with eggplant or zucchini as the noodles. Peppers can be chopped and frozen, so can onions. A soup, (even just a veggie broth from stuff that is going south too fast)...then freeze that. Lettuce is probably the hardest to be creative with. But there is always a good chopped salad or wraps.
Lettuces (not iceberg) (2 pkges) (TJ) (NOTE: Sam's and Costco have large bags/containers of organic spinach and lettuce that are great deals, but they are large.)
Mushrooms (1-2 pkges depending on menu) (TJ)
Zucchini or Spring Squash (1 to 2 depending on menu) (TJ)
Eggplant (TJ if they have it fresh, if not they have a frozen bag of zucc/eggplant slices)
Peppers (However, we usually buy the frozen chopped pepper medley at TJs)
ONCE A MONTH or for MENU choices we will also pick up:
Bag of Organic Garlic (TJ)
Bag of Organic Onions (TJ)
Fresh Basil (TJ)
Fresh Cilantro (TJ)
Bagged Organic Potatoes (TJ)
Tofu (TJ) (it's in the produce aisle)
apples (in the bags) (TJ)
Oranges ( bagged) (TJ)
Other in season or appealing fruit (TJ) (I'm going to be honest. Whole Foods produce is a little bigger and maybe even prettier. But TJs prices are pretty amazing. I can get a 3 lb bag of organic apples for about $3.50 give or take. That's comparable to what I used to spend at my local grocery store for non-organic apples.)
NOTE: If you a smoothie person, note how much you will use in each smoothie and buy accordingly. 24 drinks breakfast smoothies, Rob and I usually don't. And for smoothies we usually buy TJ's frozen fruit chunks which are very reasonable. And then they are always there and the nutrition is not disappearing slowly every day it sits on the counter. We usually buy several bags (three or so per trip).
And since I'm at frozen, the following TJ's products are terrific and decently priced....frozen asparagus, artichokes and falafel, egg rolls (not pure vegan, have egg white on them) And the peppers. We buy these as needed based on the menu. Yes. I'll share menus next week. : )
Rob and I each take a PB or Almond Butter and Jelly sandwich to work. So we buy a jar of each at TJ's. WF is comparable on PB but not Almond Butter.
Two Loaves of multi-grain sandwich breads. (TJ) They have a great variety and we don't grab the same one each time. Organic and multi-grain are anywhere from 2.50 to 4.00 a loaf....
Also based on menu needs additional breads, rolls, buns, or wraps (TJs)
Dried fruits, juices and nuts are good deals at TJs. We grab what menu need says or what sounds good for nibbling.
TJ's also has tasty cookies, chips and the prices are reasonable. So keep that in mind if you want to plan splurges. The Jo-Jo cookies are Vegan and they are delicious. And their Veggie Straws are pretty tasty, too. Coffee at TJ's is great. I buy the fair trade organic beans and they run about 6.99-8.99 for 14oz. (This stuff is sparingly bought and if we splurge too much we tip over the budget and things will sit there and don't get used up sometimes, too.)
Sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, canned beans, some soups, artichokes in the jar...these are all good prices at TJ and we pick them up as recipes or convenience dictate. (the olives and sun-dried tomatoes are really good prices). TJ's also has good pasta sauces, dressings, marinades and condiments. As needed I buy a bag of brown rice there, too. (again, though these all keep, I don't go too crazy because we don't need to store it on our shelves just because we can).
Finally. We head down the road to Whole Foods. So far the only thing TJ's doesn't have/beat is the Earth Balance Soy Free spread, the coconut milk and the yogurt.
WF is where I get my:
Flour (Spelt - which I do buy online, too, Amazon actually) or King Arthur minimally processed.
Oatmeal (Bulk Organic)
Nutritional Yeast (Bulk)
Ground Flaxseed (whichever is best deal)
Chocolate or carob chips (bulk)
Bagged beans (usually 365 brand is cheapest)
Bagged quinoa (usually 365 brand is cheapest)
Vegetable broth in carton (365 brand...1.00 cheaper than TJ's)
365 Brand frozen waffles (blueberry and flax flavors) ( a fav breakfast, theirs are Vegan, TJ's has some but they have eggs... A waffle, smeared with Almond butter and fresh fruit on top. Yum)
And the above are items we don't need every 10 days and purchase is based on what we plan to eat.
And thoughts. Since we went organic (mostly) a couple of years ago I was getting pretty used to spending high dollar amounts on dairy. Eggs runs $4.00 a dozen, milk $6.00 a gallon, fruits/veggies aiy yiiyii. And meat prices are up there with cheese and organic yogurt....this change is not a huge shock to us costwise. But. If you are shopping with coupons and buying processed food, and store brand, this food list and the cost may shock you. Super processed is cheaper, especially with coupons. But since price was a subject talked about early on, and because I was curious, I thought I'd share my findings with you, and where I found the best deals.
Next week I'll share our menu's for the month.