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Posted on Aug 4, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food, Pup Posts | 18 comments

Healthy Eating on the Cheap

You know, temporary unemployment really puts your budget in perspective. Who knew that I’d be paying such close attention to my own advice when it comes to food and finances so soon? After Monday’s pizza pity party, I’ve made it my goal not to spend money on food until the weekend. So all week long, we’re going to be playing my favorite game: pantry roulette!


Start with an on-its-last-legs zuke from the fridge (purloined from your sister’s CSA share), add a kajillion knife cuts (I really need a mandolin) and some fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and set aside.


Meanwhile, cook up some whole wheat pasta and stare longingly at the beautiful label on the newest kind of spaghetti sauce you’re trying from Trader Joe’s.


Add in zucchini “noodles”, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, whatever, and shake it all about.


Garnish with a random cherry tomato you found at the bottom of the produce drawer and some fresh basil from the plant that you still can’t believe hasn’t died on your windowsill. Eat.


Another way to save the cash monies when you’re trying to scrimp and save? Eat dinner at the parentals’ house! 😀


My mom and I made a decadent and delicious meal together for the fam that consisted of creamy mushroom risotto (O.M.G.), chicken, salad, and whole wheat bread for EVOO dippage.


And fruit for dessert! Crazy exotic fruit, that is.


Papaya and “dragon eyes” (related to lychees). Mmm.


The only not-so-economical part of my day? Paying for the mutts to be transformed from their previously shaggy selves into this:


Worth it. 🙂


  1. The pups look great! Not shaggy anymore 🙂 I’m glad you’re attempting to save money by cooking at home more- not only cost saving benefit but also healthier and hopefully will help you continue to drop the pounds quicker! ps. isn’t the point of zucchini “noodles” to forego the actual pasta then?

    • Well, yes. But I was scared. Turned out to be delicious so next time I can forgot the pasta for realsies. 😀

  2. There is nothing better or cuter than how great a dog looks after the groomer. But I agree – it is horrible to leave them there! 🙂
    I sometimes love to figure out what I can make with what I have in my fridge and pantry when I am trying not to go to the grocery store or spend money until later. It can be a hard game to play though!

  3. Oh man, I am no stranger to life on a budget. But its not so hard once you figure it out. Lists and meal planning are wonderful!

  4. dragon eyes look REALLY interesting….what do they taste like?
    And I just bought my first house so I understand decreasing the visits to target haha

    • They taste like slightly less sweet lychees. They’re really good!

  5. Wow – I’ve never heard of the Dragon Eye’s fruit before… but I’m game to try anything once!

    The pups look great. I have an Aussie, and we’ve never gotten her groomed. It would be over $150… no thanks! So I’m jealous. I’m so tired of the Furminator! 😉


  6. Your meals always look so tasty! I definitely have to put more effort into cooking with vegetables.

  7. Do you have a recipe for the risotto? Thanks 🙂

    • Haha! Well let me preface this by saying that this is NOT health food. I’ll post a detailed recipe post the next time I make it (which probably wont’ be that far from now… it was SOOOO good) but here are the basics:

      1 shallot
      2-3 cloves of garlic
      1-2 cups Risotto rice
      1 lb mushrooms (button and baby bella)
      Fresh thyme
      Fresh flat-leaf parsley
      Beef or vegetable stock
      1 cup Heavy cream
      Cooking sherry

      1. Mince shallot & garlic, slice mushrooms. (Cook rice in rice cooker separately.)
      2. Brown mushrooms in deep skillet with 1 tbsp of butter (1 pat), sweating out all the liquid and adding salt & pepper.
      3. Add garlic, shallots, thyme, parsley, and let all mushroom liquid reduce.
      4. Add cooking sherry to deglaze pan, then add liberal amounts of stock, allow to reduce.
      5. Finish with heavy cream, more parsley and thyme. Add rice directly to the sauce, allow rice to absorb, try not to eat the entire thing. 😀

  8. The dogs look so good!!! Worth every penny.

    I love your “pantry roulette” — we’ve been playing that more and more these days.

  9. I would be so poor if I did not live at home and eat out like I do now. Why does food have to be SOO good???

  10. Oh those “eggs” are crazy looking.

  11. I don’t know what my food budget would be like if I didn’t live at home. I’m lucky I do right now; I still buy my own things that my family doesn’t really eat but the majority of food comes from them. Good luck on the remainder of the week!

  12. It’s funny, I never used to look at “how to save money on food” articles or “healthy eating on a budget.” But now I do. I think we’ll be stronger, more thoughtful people through it all.

    Besides. Your food STILL looks gourmet. 😉

    (and the pups = adorable!)


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