Tag Archives: The Thrifty Vegetarian

Sometimes I’m On Target

Well, who knew that when I was eating all of my Greek food on Saturday, that Sunday was Greek Independence Day?!  Thanks to my friends, Eleni and Angie I found that out.  So Oopa or however you spell it.!  I just know that I enjoy the food.  From comments, I guess I’m pretty lucky to have a place that makes veggie Gyros.  I’ve never seen it anywhere else so, if I want one, I’ll have to keep going to the Gateway Diner!

I mentioned yesterday about trying to get just one project accomplished and it might expand into something more.  I feel like that theory actually worked for me on Monday!

I had to miss out on my free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee last week, but I wasn’t going to allow that to happen again…

Grabbed it on the way to run errands.  The girl at DD actually got the point of “not too much cream” this time.  Yum and Yum!

Got a great deal at Shoprite.  Ralph and I like Miracle Whip Light.  For me it’s only 1 Point per tablespoon.  A jar lasts us a good long time.  They don’t have it sometimes which is frustrating and Walmart doesn’t carry it at all.  It was on sale for $1.50 off the regular price…of course I bought 2!

Ralph likes red delicious apples and I bought him some last week.  He’ll eat one, maybe two, then the apples sit there.  Never fear…enter Crock-ette!

Along with the second box of ancient raisins found recently while cleaning out a cabinet. 😉  I ended up having to eat one of the apples because there wasn’t enough room in Crock-ette.

The finished product.  Just cinnamon and a little Splenda added.  So tasty and they make the house smell so good.  Ralph doesn’t like scented candles, but he doesn’t complain when the good smell is coming from Food!  He doesn’t have quote the same reaction when I’m cooking beans…I wonder why? 😦

Speaking of Splenda, anyone who uses it knows how expensive it is in stores, even if you buy a store brand.  Aldi is usually the least expensive-100 packs for $1.99.  At BJ’s they sell it in quantity.  You can buy Splenda for $13.99 for 700 packets, but if you buy the BJ’s brand it’s only $9.99 for 700 packets!  You can’t tell the difference.  It’s such a good savings!

I had made overnight oats intended for breakfast but then it turned into lunch.

I’ve been talking about enjoying hot oats with half oats and half oatbran.  I tried it with this OOIAJ and it tasted great this way too!  I ate it with the lonely apple that wouldn’t fit into Crock-ette.

Afternoon tea is becoming a daily occurence for Ralph and Me.  We’re really enjoying it.  His is pretty standard old regular tea.  I’ve been trying some interesting things.  I’ve always loved Constant Comment.  I found it on sale, bought a box, then I got a box of it as a Christmas gift, so I have to start drinking it.  Recently, someone posted about finding Green Constant Comment.  Well…

I get the goodness of the green tea and they wonderful flavor of Constant Comment.  I always use my Huge mug, because I think it might end up too strong if I used a standard size mug.  Very enjoyable when I get some reading time in the afternoon.

Oh, yes and my project? As I’ve mentioned before, I have a tiny kitchen. The corner (next to my stove) where my trash can sits can become a catch-all area.  Problem is that my largest cabinet is next to it and it’s hard to get into sometimes.  I cleaned out the area and put the trash can flat against the wall so the  cabinet door opens so much easier!  I took a look in that cabinet and it needs some attention, so that is today’s project.  Makes me feel good to accomplish things!

Happy Tuesday!

Good Deal Saturday

Ok,  so maybe it wasn’t such a good deal at Weight Watchers…:-(  Hopped happily on the scale feeling positive as always for a good result…I gained 3/4 of a pound or .8 in WW terms.  When I was still working for WW I had a hard time when we went from calculating member’s weights in fractions to .2, .4, .6, .8.  I had to use a calculator anyway to figure it all…that’s right, I am Not a Math Whiz.

It cracks me up how my friends at WW determine what’s good about their loss or gain.  Both .4 and .6 are one half pound by WW reckoning.  If my friend Debbie gains .4 it’s a low half pound, if she gains .6 it’s a high half pound.  However if she loses either of those amounts…it a half pound!!  I think that all of us who are trying to lose or maintain our weight can drive ourselves a little crazy with this stuff.

I believe I know what caused my gain.  I said I thought I had my night-time snacking under control.  I’ve been snacking on saltines Way Too Often.  I have to get out of that and I think I will see a positive result.  My fingers are crossed!

On to the deals!  I had mentioned how I was seriously enjoying the Shoprite brand Greek yogurt and that it compared well to Chobani.  When I went there Saturday both Chobani and the store brand were on sale 10 for $10.  Guess which I bought?!

Same price, Bigger savings, right?!  I was excited.  Good thing is that it seems to last in the fridge.  If I had more room in the fridge, I might have doubled it.  I’m excited.  I also got the Chobani because it has plain yogurt in the small container and I’ve been wanting to experiment with yogurt in my home-made dressing.  Yay!!

I also made a stop at Dollar General.  What did I find??

Now here’s the deal…On the shelf with the regular canned goods, these were $1 each.  I decided that I use them enough that it was worth it and picked up a couple.  I then found their Last Chance shelf where they have things reduced.  Found them there for 50 cents each!! Very exciting.  I love that store!

I must confess that after this I got sucked into going to Goodwill.  I had a few things to drop off, things I didn’t want to save for my yard sale…more on that soon…I bet no one had to sprain their brain to figure out what I bought…

 Ok, I can’t stop myself…they’re only 49 cents for the paperbacks and 99 cents for the hard back, AND I’ve already read 18 books this year, not like I’m wasting the money! AND I can sell the ones I don’t want to keep at my yard sale!  I’ve never read Neil Gaiman.  I got another of his a week or so ago at Goodwill.  They sound interesting and I think I’ve heard some other people talk about him.  Has anyone read him?  I’d be interested in your opinion since I’ve invested a whopping $1.48 in him! 😉

I found this on Book Riot and I think it accurately and painfully describes me…

Sad but true.  Not really!

So, not sure what the day will hold.  It looks like yesterday’s dreary has come to visit again today. Blah, Blah, Blah.  Guess I’ll just have to get some reading done…  😉

Happy Sunday!

And The Green Goes On…

Or so it seems by looking at my photos today! First I have to mention the fact that I had quite a few comments yesterday encouraging me to try a green smoothie.  Ok, You’ve got me.  This weekend I’m going to experiment with one and I’ll let you all know next week if we (Me and my Magic Bullet) survive!

Wednesday morning I started out by making egg salad.  Ralph was a little disappointed last week when I made chicken salad for him and kept the egg salad to myself.  So it’s for both of us this week.  Gotta keep him happy!

Lots of celery chopped up.  It’s actually Ralph’s idea, he loves it in egg salad, chicken salad, etc.  It’s a great idea.  It makes the eggs go farther, adds crunch so you eat it more slowly, tastes good and is good for you.  Why not add it.

Eggies cooling in the sink post boil.

Yummy lunch… 1/4 cup of low-fat cottage cheese, 1/4 cup of egg salad on Romaine topped with Mrs. Dash’s Fiesta Lime, one of my favorites.

Everyone was talking about green tea yesterday on WIAW and I decided to have some for my afternoon tea.  I have several varieties and since it’s supposed to be good for me, why not.  I already have it so it didn’t cost me anything!  This was Lipton’s pomegranate green tea.  Very tasty.  Please take note of my lovely dragonfly cup that my sister, Ele gave me, quite a few years ago now.  It’s one of my favorites!

Dinner was another of my combos.  Whole wheat pasta, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, garlic, plum tomato, red bell pepper and low-fat cottage cheese.

All chopped up and cooking…

And cooking some more…

All the steamy goodness!  I love using the cottage cheese in something like this.  I add 1/2 a cup and I get 14 grams of protein for only 2 Points on Weight Watchers.  It makes it all cheesy and gooey as if I used a higher Point cheese.  One of my faves!

We have a few things on the agenda today so we’ll be out and around.  No telling where we’ll end up but I think lunch will be involved!  We’ll see where we land!

Happy Thursday!

Humble Hummus From The Bean Queen

Those of you who have been reading BCDC for a while know that I am totally addicted to Goodwill, thrift stores and rummage sales.  I’m actually quite excited because I’ll be helping at my sister Ele’s church rummage sale tomorrow!.  Well several months ago at that same rummage sale I found a wonderful deal…you know I love  a deal!

It’s a Cuisinart mini-prep processor.  It looks bigger in this photo than it actually is but it was in perfect shape…and it cost $1.oo!!!  I couldn’t believe it!  I scooped it up immediately!

You might remember all of the garbanzo beans I cooked the other day…

Well, I have long wanted garbanzo beans to meet mini-prep processor.  Yesterday was the day!

I used the recipe I found in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ book Appetite For Reduction.  It’s a cook book filled with what look like tasty recipes but this is the first time I’ve tried one.  I picked this mainly because it was low-fat and I had all of the ingredients!

The starting lineup.  Not a lot of ingredients…My kind of recipe!

Since it was my first try, I figured there would be lessons to learn.  First, this would probably have been easier with a full size food processor.  I have a brand new one in the basement, never out of the box.  I am kitchen space challenged as you have all heard before.  This worked just fine.  Next time however and I’m excited to say, there will probably be a next time, I will process 1 cup of beans first, then the second.   Putting all of them in at once made it too full and required a lot of taking the lid off and pushing down with a spoon.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Hummus!  Once it processed down a bit and I added the liquid it started to look really good.  It smelled good too!

Ta Da!!  It looks like Hummus, it smells like Hummus, it TASTES like Hummus!  I was so excited.  Ralph was out while I was doing this and he was hysterical when he walked in the door and I pushed the container in his face, saying…”Look at my Hummus!!”  He’s not a fan of hummus but agreed it definitely Looked like hummus.  He said he was really proud of me.

Here’s the recipe!


    Open the chickpeas and pour off about 4 tbsp of the liquid. Drain the rest of the liquid and rinse the chickpeas. Pulse them in a food processor along with the garlic.
    Add the olive oil, lemon juice and pulse. Add 2 tbsp of the reserved liquid, salt, and paprika if using. Blend until very smooth and add in extra liquid a tbsp at a time if need be. Taste for salt & lemon juice. (I ended up adding more lemon juice). Let chill if not using immediately.

Since I was using homemade beans, I just used 2 cups (16 ounces).  Also there was no bean liquid from the can, so I substituted veggie broth.  Honestly, this was so easy, I don’t know why I took so long.  It’s delicious and it is lower in fat that the store-bought versions.  Less expensive too!  There are variations and I will try them next time.  Actually, I have a few of my own ideas now that I know I can do it.

I’ll leave you with a pretty beach photo from Honeymoon Island.

I hear it’s in the 80’s there.  It’s been in the 60’s in New Jersey, and that’s not bad for February.  It may be in the 80’s but they don’t have Homemade Hummus! 😉

Happy Friday from The Bean Queen!!

All Dollar Stores, All The Time

Thursday afternoon, my sister Ele and I took a little tour of dollar stores in the area.  We hit 2 Family Dollar stores and a Dollar General.  We also made a stop at Aldi’s food store. Of course we sustained ourselves first by a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for pumpkin spice coffee!  A girl needs to be fortified! 😉

Now I’ve got to be honest.  This whole Thrifty Vegetarian idea just came up this week so I’m not certain of all the prices on things.  From now on, when I shop, I WILL track what it costs so we can see how well I’m doing.

First at Aldi’s we got these goodies…

I added to my stash of veggie broth or in this case stock with this purchase.  These were twice the size of the cans I bought earlier in the week.  I had never seen them have veggie stock there so I was happy.  I may go back at the beginning of the week and pick up a few more.

I also picked up a can of vegetarian chili, which Ele says is very good.  Also a very unique thing, a can of tomatoes, okra and corn.  It sounds really good.  I foresee adding some beans and putting it over rice or quinoa or bulgur.  Yum…

Next stop was Family Dollar.  Ele had wanted to buy me something she’d seen there…

How often do you find purple Autumn mugs?!?  I love them…for $1 each!  I can say that because Ele knows that I know what they cost.  They are so cool!!  Thanks, Ele!!

We then headed to a new Dollar General in the area.  It was shiny and bright and bigger than the other one that used to be in town.  My first find…

Diced tomatoes with green chiles.  Now in truth, I first found Ro-tel tomatoes with green chiles.  They were $1 per can which is a pretty good price for them.  Then I found these that are 2 cans for $1!!!  I was so excited.  I love the Ro-tel ones, but I hate to pay the price.  I usually buy regular ones and spice them up myself.  It’s nice to know there’s a thriftier alternative!

Then Ele decided I needed another giftie.

Halloween/Autumn socks!!  Ele suggested that I introduce my Sneakers to my Socks…I think that would give even Me a headache! 😉  Thanks, again, Ele!

It was a really great excursion and it makes me happy that there are 2 Family Dollar Stores and a Dollar General in Silver City.  I always feel at home, they seem to have the same products no matter which store you go to.  I like that.

Friday morning I decided it was time to make use of a lovely honeydew I got earlier in the week.

And since I hadn’t had breakfast yet…

Honeydew, FF vanilla yogurt and Fiber One…


And before I go…a bit more Autumn beauty…

I love the way some trees change piece by piece rather than all at once.  Very pretty.

That’s it for now.  Hope your weekend is going well.  We’re off to a wedding today!

Happy Saturday!!

Food, Fall and Fun

Thursday started with us out fairly early.  Ralph had an appointment.  The office where we went was right next to a big cornfield.

The geese were a little too quick for me to get a good photo, but I think it’s kind of cool.

We needed to get breakfast so our plan was to head for the Country House Restaurant.  I was in the mood for oatmeal and they have the best oatmeal around.

With raisins, cinnamon and warm milk, it was delicious!

We had to meet with someone in the afternoon to deliver a package from our friend in Texas.  We were meeting her at Kemble Methodist Church in Woodbury. It’s a wonderful old church, built in 1888. It’s beautiful and it has gargoyles!


Such a beautiful building!

We got back home and I was hungry for something.  Enter, my new favorite snack…

Rice cakes with peanut butter!  During our trip I had picked up several individual packets of peanut butter which I never got to use while we were on the road.  Perfect serving for a full size rice cake.

I went on an adventure with my sister, Ele in the afternoon with lots of discoveries.

When I got home with a thought toward dinner, I cooked up a batch of quinoa.  I had just stocked up on veggie broth because it was on sale and cooked 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups veggie broth, exactly 1 can.  That’s $1.93 for the quinoa and $1 for the veggie broth.  I’m likely to get 3 meals out of that.  The Thrifty Vegetarian at work.

Romaine, baby spring mix, red bell pepper, Roma tomato, 1 cup of black beans, 1 cup cooked quinoa and Cabot’s 50% reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese.  The cheese was on sale so I got 2 of them.  I’ve never tried Cabot’s before, but it is absolutely delicious.  I’m a cheese person, take my word for it! 😉

Combined with a mixture of lite balsamic vinaigrette and lite ranch dressing.  So delicious.  In fact, I kept saying to Ralph that this was one of my best salads ever.  I was serious!

A few more Fall Foliage shots for you…

Everywhere I go now, I see the beauty!

Friday looks like it will be busy, so I better get to it…

Happy Friday!!  Happy Fall!

I Hate To Be Bulgur, But…WIAW!!!

It’s Wednesday and by now we should all know what that means…What I Ate Wednesday under the direction of the lovely Jenn at Peas & Crayons!!  Head on over there to join in all of the fun!

Peas and Crayons

Today’s post is brought to you by bulgur.  There’s a scary story from many years ago when I made my first attempt at making vegetarian chili.  It contained bulgur and it was not a happy outcome…we’ll leave it at that.

A few months ago I attempted to make bulgur again, not in a recipe, just to use along with a meal.  The recipe said to boil water and pour it over the bulgur.  Let it sit for 20 minutes and it would be ready.  Well at 20 minutes it was still quite watery.  I ended up putting it in the microwave and cooking it.  It worked but I just thought there was some other way to accomplish it. 

Last Friday, I decided to give it another try.  I took my 1 cup of bulgur, boiled the water and then added 1 3/4 cups of boiling water.  I stirred it covered it then put it in the microwave just to sit.  I thought the heat would stay in that way.  Then I forgot about it.  I pulled it out probably an hour later.  I opened the lid and it was fluffy and perfect!!  It had puffed up hugely and the pot was almost overflowing.

I used it first for a salad on Friday night.

1 cup of bulgur, 1 cup of my crock pot pinto beans, romaine lettuce, tomato and red bell pepper.

Added to it a mixture of lite balsamic vinaigrette and lite ranch.  I never let anything go to waste, when they start to run out, I mix them together!  Very tasty and filling.

Saturday dinner came around and I was on my own while Ralph was camping out with the boys.  I dug out my bulgur again.

I mixed a can of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of pinto beans again and 1 cup frozen green peas.  Cooked everything together in a pot.  I warmed up a cup of my bulgur in the microwave.  I poured the tomato/bean/pea mixture over it, sprinkled with romano cheese and a bit of Sriracha sauce.

It was delicious and took almost no time to prepare.

Sunday night, Ralph was still not back so once again I was fending for myself.  One more meal from the amazing bulgur.  Time to get wild and crazy.

Garlic, tomato and red bell pepper sautéed together.

Added the last of the bulgur and then about a 1/2 cup of FF cottage cheese.

Again, a little Sriracha sauce and I was all set.  It was SO tasty.

I think that this was pretty amazing coming from 1 cup of bulgur.  The bulgur cost $1.25 a pound, so 1 cup cost about 63 cents.  I got 3 meals out of it.  That along with the pinto beans I had cooked in the crock pot.  The beans cost $1 and I can’t remember how many meals came from them. 

I think as an experiment, I’m going to try to actually calculate what my meals cost.  We hear so often that eating healthy is more expensive than eating average American fare.  I think I can prove that theory to be wrong.  I think I’m going to be the Thrifty Vegetarian from now on.  It should be fun to see how well I can do.

So, kids, that’s What I Ate Wednesday around these parts.  Be sure to go over to Peas & Crayons to join in the fun.  Check out some of the fun links…make some comments and some new friends…be cool like the rest of us! 

I was out scouring the countryside for pretty pictures to share with you all again.  I won’t bore you with too many.  Here’s today’s picture…

Happy What I Ate Wednesday…Try not to be…bulgur!! 😉